Province forecasts a million new jobs within 10 years

Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training
Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. Photo: BCGovPhotos/Flickr.

The B.C. Government says there will be over one million new jobs available over the next decade. Their latest Labour Market Outlook (LMO), a 10-year forecast that helps governments and businesses guide resources to support the future workforce, says nearly 80% of these future job openings will require some level of post-secondary education or training.

In a media release, Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training, says “despite the challenges of the past two years, there are new opportunities ahead for people looking for good-paying careers. We’re working to break down barriers and expand affordable post-secondary and skills training opportunities, so that with the right supports, the people of British Columbia can benefit from the good jobs this report projects.”

There are1,004,000 job openings forecast through to 2031. 63% of these will replace people leaving the workforce permanently, like retirees. The rest are new jobs created by economic growth and COVID-19 pandemic recovery.

Five industries will account for approximately half of all projected job openings, including health care and social assistance; professional, scientific and technical services; retail trade; construction; and accommodation and food services.

Unsurprisingly, the largest number of job openings are expected in the health-care, social assistance and education industries. These include jobs in early childhood education, counselling, child protection and community housing and food services.

A plethora of new jobs

Science and technology jobs will also be in high demand with 111,000 job openings projected and 85,000 job openings expected in skilled trades, which will offer careers ranging from cooks and automotive service technicians to construction workers and hairstylists.

The tech sector continues to see rapid growth. For example, since the 2019 LMO, the computer systems design sector grew 39% in B.C. and is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 4.8% over the next 10 years.

People under 29 entering the workforce for the first time will be the largest source of B.C.’s new labour supply, filling 48,000 job openings or 48% of the total job openings each year for the next 10 years.

New immigrants will fill 34%, while workers coming from other parts of Canada will fill 8% of the jobs.

To prepare its labour force for new and upgraded skills, the government has expanded access to post-secondary training in several high-opportunity occupations, including the addition of:

  • 2,900 tech-related spaces, set to produce approximately 1,000 additional tech graduates each year by 2023;
  • 500 new nursing seats, building on approximately 2,000 seats in nursing programs at public post-secondary institutions;
  • 1,150 new early childhood educator seats (ECE), adding to approximately 1,800 seats in ECE programs at public post-secondary institutions; and
  • 27,000 more apprenticeship and foundation training seats this year at public and non-public institutions.

B.C. added more than 100,000 jobs throughout the province in 2021, and its unemployment rate stands at 5.3% (February 2022).

Analyzing the opportunities

The Labour Market Outlook uses the most current data from various sources, including BC Stats, the B.C. Ministry of Finance, Statistics Canada and other federal departments. The economic modelling system analyzes the data collected and other factors affecting labour market supply and demand. Data is reviewed based on industry, occupation, geographic region and skills.

The LMO produces a list of high-opportunity occupations by assigning indicators for expected job opportunities, expected labour market tightness, current labour market tightness and wage rate. These indicators are assigned a weight based on their effect on labour-market conditions. Projections are tested with employers, unions, industry groups and post-secondary institutions.