BC’s economy is tepid, with some pessimistic outlooks from business leaders.
So what’s holding us back? Why don’t we have a higher rate of innovation and a broader growth economy?
That’s the question asked by this BC Business article:
Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, said complacency about the allure of B.C.’s climate, geography, and lifestyle may be one of the greatest risks. “Snow and mountains do not a business strategy make,” she warned. “I see for the first time in a decade, young people between 25 and 34 moving en masse to Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, because that’s where the jobs are,” Vrooman said. “I’m quite concerned about our ability to grow our economy for the next generation if they can’t find gainful employment here.”
The numbers back her up. Statistics Canada figures show B.C. lost 18,900 full-time jobs in 2013. Yet even with fewer spots to fill, companies are finding themselves unable to find workers with the skills needed to grow their businesses. There aren’t enough graduates in high-demand fields, and B.C. wages for even those workers are often insufficient to offset the high cost of living.
Is this a chicken and the egg problem? Businesses can’t afford to pay enough to bring in the talent that would grow business? Or is there a complacency problem here, where the environment was always supposed to be enough to draw people in and they’d take a paycut to live here?