EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - August 2018
Sustainable growth and development in the Parksville/Qualicum Beach Region require that residents can obtain and maintain fulfilling, family-sustaining work, and that employers can recruit and retain workers who contribute to productivity, profitability and long-term viability.
In early 2018, The Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber) and its partner, the Career Centre, identified two interrelated needs in the region:
• A lack of current and local labour market intelligence.
• No clear strategy to assist the region in ensuring a healthy, balanced labour market.
To address these issues, early in 2018 the Chamber secured funding from the Province of British Columbia to complete a Labour Market Analysis and a Labour Market Strategy.
The Labour Market Analysis is contained in Section 3 of this document, consisting of primary and secondary research, describes a region with a dramatic undersupply of the workers employers need. There are shortages of labour at all skill levels and in most, if not all, industrial sectors.
Shortages are evident in part time, full time and seasonal work, and in all geographic areas of the Parksville/Qualicum Beach Region. Particularly evident are shortages in the Accommodation and Food Services sector, the Health Care and Social Services sector, of skilled and qualified tradespersons across all sectors, and in the shellfish aquaculture industry. Workers in physical, lower skilled work, such as room attendants, constructions labourers and shellfish workers, are in a clear shortage situation.
There are several interrelated primary reasons underlying the current situation. These reasons include:• a small pool of younger labour force participants living in the region.
• a large proportion of the population – mainly older persons – who are not in the labour force.
• multiple barriers to working in the region, including housing and transportation.
• a high proportion of seasonal work.
• a lack of qualified persons in skilled occupations.
Recruitment is not the only problem – many employers are having difficulty retaining people. While some employers are responding with creative solutions, and some are more able than others to find and retain workers, these in-house solutions are not entirely effective.
The services that employers provide and the products they produce are being directly impacted as employers are forced to cut back due to worker and skill shortages. Opportunities for growth are being set aside as workers are not available to fulfil the expected demand.
The current undersupply situation is expected to continue for the foreseeable future as the workforce ages and the population of the Region continues to grow and age.
To date, approaches to addressing labour market issues have lacked a focussed, collaborative approach in the Region. Activities have been implemented based on the mandates of stakeholders, and on some identified needs as they unfold. Communication between stakeholders in the region has been inconsistent. The linkages between labour market balance and broader economic and community development have not been clarified. Reconciliation with indigenous persons has not been adequately addressed.
The Labour Market Strategy cannot be entirely uncoupled from economic or social development strategies. Thus, this Strategy speaks to broader issues where they directly impact the labour market.
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