BC Chamber Labour Survey

From labour shortages to significant skills mismatches, British Columbians will ring in Labour Day against a backdrop of labour challenges — according to a recent BC Chamber MindReader™ survey done in partnership with the BC Government, which canvassed business leaders across BC.

Survey highlights: 

Two-thirds of BC businesses had positions that were difficult-to-fill in the past year.

  • majority of difficult-to-fill positions were for higher skilled or senior positions,
  • Nearly one-quarter (24%) of businesses had middle or senior manager positions vacant for over six months,

There was a diversity of specific skills mismatches

  • the most common gaps in job-specific technical skills (57%) and other direct on- the-job experience (46%)
  • Customer service experience gaps were common for over one-third (37%) of respondents
  • leadership skills mismatches were common for just under one-third (31%) of respondents.

More than half of respondents indicated they were increasing wages (56%) and/or benefits (52%) as a strategic tool to retain staff.

  • working conditions and business culture: nearly two-thirds (63%) focusing on improving working conditions to retain staff.

3 clear and significant trends have emerged from this report:

  1. Severity of labour shortages: employers in most regions and industries of the province are challenged with recruiting and retaining quality staff due to the robust provincial economy and corresponding “tight” labour market;
  2. Significance of skills mismatches: with nearly three-quarters (72%) of employers indicating they routinely hire less-qualified employees and train them on-the-job, there is a clear need to improve the alignment of (skilled) labour demand and supply in B.C.
  3. Emphasis on local recruitment: considering the current severity of labour shortages, it is notable that most employees continue to focus recruitment efforts on the local/community labour market rather than recruiting more aggressively from other parts of B.C. and Canada.

Current BC Chamber policies to address labour challenges:

Improving Apprenticeship Completion Rates (2018),

Manufacturing – a Skilled Workforce (2017)

Supporting Labour Needs of Today and Tomorrow (2017).