The number of health services support workers jobs is expected to grow at a faster rate than many employment categories in Greater Victora

Chamber tackles regional jobs, economic study

Report forecasts growth areas and hard-to-fill positions

Have you ever wanted to see into the future?

Well, the Westshore Chamber of Commerce has just released information that could be the closest thing to having a crystal ball, at least regarding the shape of the Greater Victoria job market into the next decade.

The Chamber, in conjunction with the Greater Victoria Development Agency, has unveiled a 77-page Labour Market Partnership Project report that maps out demographic and labour market trends, and educational achievement.

While its projection of nearly 15,000 new jobs between now and 2022 is eye-opening, possibly the most import aspect of the document is that it maps out best practices for meeting employment demands in the region over the next decade.

“The greatest gap is the fact there isn’t an integrated labour market,” said Julie Lawlor, the Chamber’s executive director. There are some great partnerships already in the region, she added, but the problem is they aren’t interconnected.

While the data assembled by the Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria – the researchers – wasn’t broken down by municipality, Lawlor said the West Shore can still use the information to become a driving force and contribute to the prosperity of the region.

Among the projected labour force demand increase of 14,736 new jobs by 2022, the top categories for growth are:

• Nursing – 1,100 new positions

• Support workers in legal, social community and education services – 1,000

• General office workers – 800

• Health services support workers – 770

Difficult-to-fill positions revealed include engineers, dishwashers, pharmacists, senior executives and farm labourers.

Not only did the study reveal potential job prospects, Lawlor said, it highlighted training gaps between employees’ skills and potential employers’ expectations.

While she said there is an expected skill gap for those entering the workforce, the study highlighted the fact that employers were finding that job seekers lacked the necessary skills – many were either in mid-career or changing careers. Those missing skills ranged from basic resume and cover letter writing abilities to communication and teamwork skills. Lawlor said this highlighted a need for cross-over training for related career paths.

This information could help students, and those transitioning, fill a future void by pursuing the necessary training. “It helps provide a bit of a marker,” Lawlor said.

The research, funded with grants from different branches of government, saw more than 70 employers surveyed, as well as 12 educators and trainers. Focus groups with 22 representatives from community agencies were also conducted.

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