No end in sight for B.C. labour shortfall: study

Retiring baby boomers causing demographic labour pool shift

The future looks bright for the next generation entering the B.C. labour force, according to an economic analysis by Business Development Bank of Canada.

Pierre Cleroux, BDC’s chief economist, predicts the province’s health economy coupled with a shortage of workers will create a tremendous opportunity for appropriately skilled job seekers over the next decade.

Cleroux says B.C.’s current labour shortage is more acute in the Okanagan than other regions in Canada, noting BDC’s analysis found 45 per cent of businesses across the province report having difficulty hiring new employees.

He said the hardest hit industries are manufacturing, retail and construction, the latter two most widely evident across the Okanagan Valley by the plethora of job vacancy billboards signage outside businesses and construction projects delays incurred due to labour shortfalls.

Related: Health care, high tech jobs top B.C. employment forecast

Cleroux said the labour shortage is a reflection of the aging population demographics—in 10 years some 25 per cent of Canadians will be retired, compared to only 12 per cent a decade ago.

“The baby boomers are now starting to retire and there are not enough people coming up behind them to fill the jobs they are vacating,” he said.”It is an issue for B.C. but it’s going to be an issue for the entire country moving forward.”

The solutions to that problem, he says, lie in further technology investment to off-set labour shortfalls, employers continuing to seek greater operating efficiency, hiring more immigrant workers and marketing your workplace as a great place to work among existing and new employees.

Cleroux said the immigrant issue is particularly perplexing, as Statistics Canada data shows immigrants will account for about two-thirds of Canada’s population growth by 2022, and up to 80 per cent by 2032, yet currently only 18 per cent of Canadian entrepreneurs report looking to immigrant workers to fill their needs for skilled employees, according to the BDC report.

“The labour force is changing across Canada reflecting a greater reliance on immigrant workers and it takes time for those adjustments to become the new reality. These people are coming to this country and want to work, they are bringing considerable skills, so we need to adapt to this new reality.”

Related: Who will care for fraily elderly?

Cleroux said having to dedicate more time to creating a marketing strategy to fill job postings can be daunting for time-stressed small business operators, but is necessary to remain competitive in a job market.

For B.C., Cleroux also downplayed the significance of increasing the minimum wage, saying it only makes lower skilled jobs more expensive to fill, making the trade-off opportunities to use technology to streamline production a more attractive option.

“There is a much better solution to help people with lower skills to get more employable skills and find better jobs, and that is education. Education is everything.”

Cleroux said B.C. is also well positioned to benefit from the increasing growth demands of the technology sector across North America, as the province technology sector has a current annual growth rate of about five per cent.

“That is a phenomenal growth rate and it’s not likely to change as technology advancement becomes more and more important to companies. It’s a great way to diversify an economy and evolve out of the dependence on resource-based industries like forestry and mining.”

He said the healthcare sector will also continue to expand, another reflection of the aging population factor.

“That is great news for young people. The number of healthcare jobs has steadily increased in recent years, and it is just the beginning. With our aging population, the demand for health service workers is going to explode.”

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@BarryGerding
barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

It’s playoffs or bust for Okanagan Sun with only 4 games remaining

The Sun return to the Apple Bowl Saturday after a 38-9 win last weekend

Three people taken to hospital after a fire at Rutland home

The fire which was located on the second floor of the townhouse complex is now out

Multiple crashes, including a bus, plague Highway 97

Thursday’s evening commute in Kelowna slowed by collisions

Health minister announces new urgent care centre in Kelowna

Adrian Dix made the annoucment Thursday at the Capri Centre

Provincial Mobile Medical Unit makes an appearance in Kelowna

The high tech hospital on wheels provides medical care for rural communities and during emergencies

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Historic photo: How the Okanagan River Channel came to be

Dredging in Okanagan River in Penticton started in 1908

Juno award-winning artist delivers early Christmas present to Okanagan

Chart-topping, multi-platinum artist to perform songs from new album at South Okanagan Events Centre

Fire at Kelowna home sends three to hospital

The fire which was located on the second floor of the townhouse complex is now out

Reports of chaos in Penticton, involving police cruiser and possible shots fired

Residents also reported hearing shots fired at the same time as the crash

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

Most Read