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B.C. Facing Trucking, Other Labor Shortages in Future

Posted: November 4, 2015

VANCOUVER, BC — A new labor market forecast released this week shows increasing challenges ahead in key occupations in British Columbia in the next five to 10 years, including an expected shortage drivers, managers, maintenance and other key people in trucking.

The Asia Pacific Gateway, a non-profit, regional partnership between labor, business and education/training institutions, and its Labor Market Information study looked at 56 occupations in the construction, rail, trucking, marine, managers, logistics and air sectors, and occupations that support the multiple sectors, all of which it says are critical to support B.C.’s growth and its ability to meet the labor demands of international trade.

While the forecast focused on five and 10-year horizons (2015-2024), it found that tight labor conditions are expected to take hold even sooner across all sectors in the first three years of the forecast, and remain for most of the next decade.

The primary factor causing the tight labor market? The number of new workers is not keeping pace with job openings.

More than 46,000 new jobs are expected by 2024 in the occupations studied. Compounded by ongoing retirement of the baby boom generation, almost 160,000 job openings will need to be filled over the next 10 years.

It is anticipated that people new to the workforce will make up about 40 percent of the new supply of workers, and a further 25 percent will be made up of workers new to the country.

In trucking, the forecast shows a tight supply for jobs in B.C. in all but the first two years of the forecast period, which show the market tightening.

Over 10 years, about seven out of 10 jobs openings in trucking will be due to attrition as people retire, with the rest coming from expansion in trucking.

International immigration is expected to add 25 percent to the total new supply of trucking sector occupations in B.C.

“The study puts hard numbers on specific challenges employers will face with the labor market, across a multitude of occupations,” said John Beckett, vice-president of training, safety and recruitment with the BC Maritime Employers’ Association and chair of the study’s project committee. “Employers need a well-trained and resilient workforce, and integrating workers who are new to the workforce or new to the country will be critical. Industry is beginning to recognize this challenge, and adapt to the new reality of recruiting, training, and retaining skilled workers.”

The study is available on the Asia Pacific Gateway’s website, along with a separate breakdown for the trucking industry


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