Report projects 917,000 job openings in B.C. over the next ten years

Over the next decade, 917,000 job openings will be created in British Columbia, according to this year’s Labour Market Outlook by the B.C. government. Of these jobs, 78 per cent will either require some form of a post-secondary education or professional training.

The report, which is produced annually, uses data from organizations such as StatsCan and the province’s finance ministry to predict trends in employment over the next 10 years.

Though nearly eight in 10 jobs between now and 2027 will require post-secondary education, this trend is consistent with the 2016 edition of the outlook. Nearly half of the predicted jobs, 48 per cent, will be filled by people entering the workforce for the first time. Another 36 per cent will be filled by immigrants or workers from other provinces.

Most of these jobs openings, 70 per cent, are the result of retirees leaving the workforce, while only 30 per cent of the new jobs created are due to economic growth.

According to the outlook, the main source of employment over the next decade will be people under 30. It is predicted this demographic will fill 44,000 new jobs a year between now and 2027. In comparison, immigrants and workers from other provinces are expected to fill 32,000 jobs a year over the next decade.

Despite almost a million jobs being created by 2027, the outlook notes that having enough trained workers in order to meet the province’s needs will be a challenge. Population growth in B.C. is steadily decreasing, and the labour force participation rate is set to drop from 65 per cent to 59 per cent within ten years.

While Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland account for 81 per cent of the predicted job openings, the Thompson–Okanagan will see 96,100 positions created by 2027. It is expected that employment in the region will increase by one per cent a year by that period as well. Of those jobs, 74 percent will replace retirees and 26 percent will be generated by economic growth.

Within the Thompson–Okanagan, the three areas expected to see the most growth are other retail trade, with 25,360 job openings, construction, with 25,550 job openings, and food and drink services, with 16,860 job openings. Nursing and residential care is also expected to see a surge, with 8,770 job openings between now and 2027.

Though other retail trade, which is defined as non-specialized stores, and construction top the list for Kamloops and the surrounding area, the same can’t be said for the whole province. Across B.C., the two sectors expected to see the most job openings are health care and social assistance, and professional, scientific and technical services.

For those with a bachelor’s,degree, graduate degree or first-time-professional degrees, financial auditors and accountants, information systems analysts and consultants, and computer programmers and interactive media developers will be the top three demanded occupations over the next decade.

These increases in job openings in information and technology fields follow another trend outlined in the report as well, automation. While it is predicted that 42 per cent of the Canadian labour force is at risk because of automation, only 27 per cent of the 917,000 jobs created here in B.C. are high automation risk occupations.

Overall, the report claims that the next generation of British Columbians entering the workforce want careers, not jobs. Today’s students are less likely to go to school for a specific job and instead are learning to prepare for a career path, according to the report.