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Vancouver Island region poised for tourism job growth with nearly 15,000 new job openings

September 30, 2013 Careers No Comments Email Email

Regional studies of labour demand and supply by go2hr, BC tourism industry’s human resource association, indicate that 14,484 job openings are expected in the Vancouver Island region by 2020, but the region could face labour shortages as early as 2014.

“Vancouver Island faces specific pressures within our industry,” says Arlene Keis, CEO of go2hr. “The island is affected by seasonality and retention challenges, particularly in occupations like cooks, housekeeping and front desk staff, and compared to other parts of the province, they will have a higher percentage of jobs opening up due to retirements.”

The average regional labour demand growth for Vancouver Island is projected to be 1.0%, lower than the provincial rate for the tourism industry, which is 1.6%. However, labour shortages are still expected for the region, with more than 2,000 positions left to be filled. The Vancouver Island tourism region will account for 15% of the province’s anticipated shortages and the food & beverage and accommodation sectors will be the hardest hit.

“Operating a seasonal destination resort on Vancouver Island brings challenges in workforce retention and training, and the anticipated labour shortages in the recreation sector will definitely impact operations,” says Kate Dodd, director of finance, human resources and workers safety with Mount WSFH_BANNER_SQUAREWashington Alpine Resort. “To help manage this expected labour shortage, Mount Washington Alpine Resort is partnering with summer operators to connect valued employees with year round employment, focusing on HR best practices to retain the quality staff we currently have, and looking at other sources of enthusiastic employees. With Vancouver Island’s workforce older than the provincial average, we’re always eager to show our mature workers that their second career should be in tourism.”

Tourism businesses and destination management and marketing organizations are being encouraged to make labour recruitment, retention and training a priority. Last fall, go2hr launched the BC Tourism Labour Market Strategy (TLMS) to help address critical labour needs across the province’s six tourism regions.

The five industry groups that were selected for study within the tourism sector include: transportation, accommodation, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment services, and travel services. Further research was undertaken this year to better understand each region’s unique needs.

Through the TLMS, go2hr is working with industry, government and other stakeholders to take strong, proactive steps to leverage tourism’s increasing economic importance and address impending labour shortages. The strategy identifies opportunities to:

– Develop career awareness and recruitment campaigns that will highlight job opportunities in an exciting and diverse industry.

– Tap into under-represented talent pools such older workers, aboriginal people, new immigrants, and persons with disabilities.

– Extend recruitment reach nationally and internationally.

– Help industry operators stay current with best practices in human resources in order to improve staff retention.

– Address the need for accessible and affordable training options in remote and rural areas of the province.

To help the tourism industry align workforce, training and education strategies, go2hr is presenting at industry gatherings, hosting meetings and workshops and providing up to date information to destination management organizations to pass onto their members and stakeholders. go2hr also offers a comprehensive website that includes a free tourism niche job board and multiple informational resources.

This research was funded in part through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement.

The regional labour studies are available for download at

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