2022 Labour Market Study: Challenges and Opportunities in a Multi-Year Skills Shortage

Prepared for Mission Community Skills Centre Society
by Labour Market Solutions
Publisher of the BC Labour Market Report

Click here to read the full report

June 2022

As British Columbia and the Fraser Valley emerges from the pandemic, we see inflation making it more difficult to afford to live in Southwestern BC; a skills shortage limiting economic growth; and industries hindered by the pandemic and natural disasters struggling to recover. While there are numerous challenges to overcome, the long-term outlook for workers in British Columbia has never been brighter.

There are seven major trends currently impacting our local labour market. These include: increased automation; globalization; greater reliance on technology and education; increased need for health interventions and environment stewardship; an aging population; growth in self-employment and the gig economy; and the changing role in government.

While these trends have been shaping BC’s labour market for years, we find they are accelerated during difficult times and prosperous times. In poor times, employers look to automation and out-sourcing to replace and downsize their workforce. In prosperous times, employers turn to these same strategies as they are unable to recruit the workers they need.

With nearly a million job openings in the next ten years, less than half of this workforce will come from youth, which will only contribute 48 per cent of our future workforce growth. Another 14 per cent will come from immigrants and eight per cent will result from other Canadians migrating to British Columbia. This will leave us short more than 80,000 workers and employers will need to better engage under-represented groups not currently participating in the labour market if they wish to grow their workforce and expand their operations.

The four largest sectors going into the next decade will be Health Care and Social Assistance (requiring 142,900 new workers); Professional Scientific and Technical Services (140,700); Retail (103,600); and Construction (75,000 new workers). These four industries alone will account for more than 45 per cent of all future labour market growth.

The resounding element to future workforce growth will be the need for workers to be increasingly skilled. In the past ten years, we’ve seen the percentage of jobs for unskilled workers and those with high school graduation shrink with increases in all other skilled areas. Jobs requiring a bachelor or higher level of education will represent 36 per cent of future jobs; with jobs requiring a diploma or certificate representing 29 per cent of future employment; and apprenticeship will represent 12 per cent of job growth. Jobs requiring high school or occupational training will represent just 20 per cent of jobs and occupations which don’t require high school graduation will be just three per cent of future jobs.

The Fraser Valley is home to a vast array of potential workers if employers are able to properly engage workers who are otherwise under-represented in the labour market. In Southwest British Columbia we will need to fill 653,200 jobs over the next ten years. This said, the Fraser Valley is home to 40,405 Indigenous Canadians, 322,160 immigrants; 274,277 individuals with disabilities; 400,970 individuals who identify as visible minorities; 195,845 youth and another 1,340 youth-at-risk or youth currently in government care between the ages of 0-19.

Employers who embrace diversity, training and supporting their existing employees will enjoy the greatest economic success in the coming decade. To this end, job seekers who embrace skills development, networking, collaborative work relationships and professional development will enjoy the greatest career success.

Click here to read the full report

Christian Saint Cyr
Chief Content Curator
Labour Market Solutions
June 2022