THE number of job vacancies reached a new high in Q4 2017, with BC facing the biggest gap. According to Canadian Federation of Independent Business’s latest Help Wanted report, the number of unfilled jobs in the private sector totalled 399,000 across Canada, including 69,500 in BC.
The job vacancy rate—the proportion of unfilled jobs relative to all available jobs in the private sector—reached 3.9 per cent in BC, the highest since Q4 2007. BC’s vacancy rate is well above the national average of 3 per cent, which is also up markedly since Q4 2016 (2.4 per cent).
“Labour shortages are a growing problem,” said Richard Truscott, CFIB Vice President, BC and Alberta. “Every time a job remains unfilled for a period of time, business owners struggle to operate at their potential. Most small businesses have fewer than 10 employees, so even one position left unfilled creates major headaches. Governments at all levels need to ensure policies are in place to help those small businesses find enough qualified people.”
The job vacancy rate rose in 8 out of 14 industry sectors in Q4 2017, with the most significant increases occurring in the personal services, information, arts / recreation and retail sectors.
Labour shortages continue to put upward pressure on wages, with companies having unfilled jobs expecting to offer an average wage increase that is 0.5 per cent higher than those businesses without such vacancies.
For information on the overall results by province and industry, consult the Q4 2017 Help Wanted report.