Province launches advertising campaign to fill labour gap


To fill B.C.’s labour gap, the government has launched an advertising campaign to try to make certain careers more attractive to students.

The province projects a labour shortage of approximately one million jobs by 2020 in technical trades, health care and applied sciences.

Fifty-two specified careers in high demand for next 10 years

Ads on buses saying “hipster is not a real job” direct to the website which lists 52 careers in high demand over the next decade. Targeted jobs include carpenter, paramedic, sawmill operator, physiotherapist, midwife, geologist, counsellor and bus driver. Salaries range from $33,000 to $125,000.

“Trade school used to be for dummies, but it’s not anymore,” said Jeff Polkinghorne, recruiter with the employment agency Manpower.

Manpower flooded with staff requests

Polkinghorne is flooded with staffing requests for electricians, machinists and manufacturing engineers who can make up to $80 per hour.

“Health care will be huge because of aging boomers,” he continued, adding managers of care homes can make up to $250,000.

Polkinghorne advises students to research job trends before deciding on a program, if they want a high-paying job. “You really have to specialize,” he said.

An ad that can be found on local transit vehicles. Photo courtesy of B.C.’s Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Communications Office

Entry level jobs are available for non-trade persons

For students who don’t go into trades, there are still plenty of entry level jobs in administration and customer service that pay $35,000 to $45,000, said Polkinghorne, who’s seen a 40 per cent overall hiring increase recently.

B.C. job shortage

Yet despite this growth, Nancy Vye, manager of corporate communications at TD Bank Group, said in an email the Canadian economy churned out 52,100 new jobs in September, about a tenth of which were created in B.C.

Scott McLean, head of Langara economics department, said job projections are cased on assumptions, which can be wrong. McLean pointed to baby boomers who are working past age 65.

“Freedom 55 is not the reality for lots of people,” he said. “All those people staying in their jobs, it’s not freeing up those jobs.”

Reported by Jana Minor

A Globe & Mail poster on Hastings Street questioning the value of higher education. With nearly 80 per cent of Canadian students graduating at least $20,000 in debt, a little research could help to ensure a return on their educational investment. Photo: Jana Minor

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