The long-term job outlook for the Cariboo economic region, which includes Prince George, Quesnel, and Williams Lake isn’t so rosy.
According to the BC Government’s Labour Market Report, employment demand is only expected to grow by 0.4% on average during the next ten years – the slowest among all regions.
Our region is the third-largest in terms of geographical size but only 3% of all BC residents live in the area.
When asked if this could lead to a mass exodus of the younger population heading to bigger centres, Assistant Deputy Minister Bindi Sawchuck doesn’t think that will be the case.
“We do think a lot more people will actually be able to live and work in communities remotely. So I think the question of do we expect a large exodus? If anything, I think we may see less of that over time.”
Between now and 2031, just 20,400 job openings are anticipated.
Deputy Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training, Shannon Baskerville stated employers, post-secondary schools and the K-12 system often have to join forces to retain our home-grown talent.
“It really is a multi-partner effort in every region and in every community of the province and the ministry has significant programs to support young people to access post-secondary and training.”
“But, it also means that the region has to work together in a different way to retain and attract the talent for its industry and sectors.”
82% of these employment opportunities will come via replacing retirees while just 18% will be attributed to economic growth.
Industries that are anticipated to have the fastest growth in the Cariboo region include Other manufacturing, computer systems design, and related services as well as warehousing and storage.
Province-wide, over a million job openings, is being forecasted in the next decade with most of the growth centered around the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island as well as the Thompson-Okanagan region.
Of this total, 63% will replace people who retire or are leaving the workforce while the remaining 37% will be new jobs created via pandemic recovery or economic growth.
The BC government anticipates nearly 80% of all future job openings will require some form of post-secondary education or training.
Immigration is expected to play a huge role in the province’s employment boom.
The forecast expects 346-thousand new immigrant workers between now and 2031.
According to the province, health care and social assistance, professional, scientific and technical services, retail trade, construction and accommodation, and food services are five industries that will account for roughly half of all projected job openings.
People aged 29 or younger entering the workforce for the first time are anticipated to be the largest source of new workers in BC.