British Columbia projects 1 million job openings in the next ten years

Edana Robitaille
Published: December 15, 2023

According to British Columbia’s recently released Labour Market Outlook report, the province will add 1 million jobs to its workforce by 2033.

The Labour Market Outlook report is a 10-year forecast of the province's in-demand careers, skills training and education, as well as the industries that may be hiring.

The report shows that 65% of the new job openings will be to replace workers who are retiring in British Columbia (BC). It is expected that up to nine million Canadians will be retired by 2030.

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The remaining 35% (345,000) of jobs in BC will be an expansion of the provincial workforce. BC’s government forecasts an annual average employment growth of 1.2% per year. This means that by 2033, BC’s workforce will grow to include 3.1 million people.

The report expects that new immigrants to the province will make up 46% of new job seekers by then. This is up 25% from the Labour Market Outlook report released five years ago. BC’s government says that 470,000 new immigrant workers are expected to arrive in the province over the next decade. This accounts for both permanent and temporary residents.

The province says higher than previously expected immigration levels and an increase in labour force participation for key age groups means that the number of job seekers will match the number of new job openings.

The report notes that 75% of expected job openings will require some post-secondary education or training.

Occupations and training

Alongside the report, the province has included a list of the occupations that will have the highest number of opportunities for people looking to enter BC’s labour force. The list is broken down into the level of education needed for the occupations:

Degree:

  • registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses
  • elementary school and kindergarten teachers
  • software engineers and designers

College diploma or apprenticeship:

  • social and community service workers
  • early childhood educators and assistants
  • police officers (except commissioned)

High school and/or occupation specific training:

  • letter carriers
  • couriers and messengers
  • mail and parcel sorters, and related occupations

To help ensure residents have the skills and training they need to succeed in one of these high-demand occupations, BC is working to expand access to training in several fields. According to the province, it is already making steps toward several new programs including:

  • funding 602 new nursing seats at colleges and universities throughout BC – adding to the approximately 2,000 existing nursing seats in the province;
  • creating a new medical school at Simon Fraser University and adding 40 new undergraduate medical education seats and as many as 112 new residency seats at the University of British Columbia’s faculty of medicine;
  • creating more than 1,700 additional early childhood educator (ECE) spaces and providing 6,500 bursaries to ECE students since 2018;
  • adding approximately 6,000 new tech-relevant spaces since 2017; and
  • providing $271.3 million toward Vancouver Community College’s new Centre for Clean Energy and Automotive Innovation. The training facility will accommodate as many as 1,400 students each year with new programs in clean-energy technology, light rail and zero-emissions vehicle repair and technology.

BC Provincial Nominee Program

To help aid the province in expanding its workforce, British Columbia invites candidates to apply for provincial nomination every week (with some exceptions) through the British Columbia Provincial Nominee Program (BCPNP).

Through the BCPNP, the province can target and select the economic immigration candidates who are most likely to easily integrate into the provincial economy. It can do this because immigration is a shared responsibility between the federal and provincial governments.

Reports such as the Labour Market Outlook help inform the BC PNP on what attributes to focus on when issuing invitations.

For example, almost every other week, the province holds a draw for candidates in a tech occupation. It also invited Early Childhood Educators and Assistants and candidates in healthcare occupations in every draw of 2023.

The province has also recently started targeting candidates who work in construction occupations.

There are several programs within the BC PNP that candidates can use to get a provincial nomination. A nomination is different from getting permanent resident status from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), but it can make an application much stronger.

Some pathways to provincial nomination in BC for skilled newcomers include Skilled Workers, International Graduates and Entry-Level and Semi-Skilled streams. There are also entrepreneurial streams, a tech stream, and a stream for Express Entry candidates. Each program has unique eligibility criteria.

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