B.C. lays out roadmap for million job openings forecast in next decade

A nurse tends to a patient at the Bluewater Health Hospital in Sarnia, Ont., on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022. Nursing is highlighted as an in-demand job in B.C.'s 10-year Labour Market Outlook. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

The B.C. government is pitching new tools for the next generation of job seekers it says will be needed to fill an estimated million job openings in the next decade.

The province released its 2023 Labour Market Outlook on Friday, a 10-year forecast meant for young people and adults considering re-training for the skills and education they’ll need for the jobs they want.

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The largest number of job openings are projected to be in the health care and social assistance sector; followed by professional, scientific and technical services; retail trade; educational services and construction.

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It also casts a particular spotlight on so-called “high opportunity occupations,” jobs that are expected to be in high demand and offer better pay.

That list includes scores of jobs, including nurses, educators, computer and software specialists, managers and various skilled trades.

The 2023 report forecasts three-quarters of job openings in the next decade will require some kind of post-secondary education or training.

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But Advanced Education Minister Selina Robinson stressed that doesn’t necessarily mean traditional university education.

“We need electricians and we need carpenters, we need cooks, we need police officers — these are not considered degree programs,” she said.

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The report also provides a regional forecast, suggesting more than 60 per cent of job openings will be in the Lower Mainland, followed by about 17 per cent on Vancouver Island and the Central Coast and 12 per cent in the Thompson Okanagan.

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Of the million forecast job openings in the next decade, the province forecasts about two thirds will be to replace workers leaving the workforce and one third will be new positions.

People aged 29 and younger are expected to make up about 47 per cent of new job seekers, while immigrants are expected to make up about 46 per cent.

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