High housing prices in Vancouver are driving away the key working demographic of 25-40 year olds – more are moving to other provinces than moving in from other provinces.
Despite the challenges, numerous companies interviewed by Reuters said most of their staff are willing to make sacrifices — like long commutes or raising kids in shoebox condos — for the benefit of Vancouver’s mild climate and outdoor lifestyle.
But those same companies, such as Vancouver-based retailer Mountain Equipment Co-op, also had examples of key hires who ultimately turned down jobs because of the high home prices.
It’s an issue Craig Hemer, an executive recruiter with Boyden, has been grappling with for the better part of a decade.
Hemer has learned ways to soften the blow — selling older executives on the idea of downsizing to a luxurious downtown condo and convincing those with families that suburban life offers more amenities for kids.
And how do the companies react to this challenge?
Companies too are shifting their policies, with some offering car allowances and transit subsidies. Others are opening small suburban offices or allow staff to telecommute from home.
But that isn’t always enough, especially in Vancouver’s start-up scene. Executives say it is easy enough to hire junior staff, but a dearth of experienced engineers and technology workers makes it hard to grow past a certain point.
“There’s just not enough high calibre people here. They all leave when they realize they can make more money in other cities and live there for cheaper,” said Simeon Garratt, chief executive of Spark CRM, a property-focused tech start-up.
“We debate at least once a month whether we should just move to Toronto.”
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