B.C. tourism sector will need 101,000 more workers by 2020: report

Most of the 101,430 workers that tourism industry employers will have to recruit and train by 2020 will be for jobs vacated by retiring baby ...

Most of the 101,430 workers that tourism industry employers will have to recruit and train by 2020 will be for jobs vacated by retiring baby boomers, according to a new Tourism Labour Market Strategy produced by tourism resource organization go2.

Retirement will spur 57,210 new jobs whereas 44,220 jobs will be created by organic growth, go2 CEO Arlene Keis told Business in Vancouver.

"It's easy for us to think near-term," she said. "Everything is so doom and gloom. We've had a bad couple of years because of the global economy, but we're coming out of it now. So, this really is visionary that we will come out of this and things are going to rebound."

Keis pointed to new markets, such as China, freeing its citizens to travel to Canada as well as new airlines such as Virgin Atlantic choosing to fly directly to Vancouver International Airport as reasons to believe that job growth will be strong.

That said, she admitted that projecting employment demand years into the future is less reliable than near-term estimates.

"It's a living, breathing strategy and if there is another big crisis, the economy or something that we haven't even thought of that could happen, then you have to adjust accordingly," she said.

The top areas in tourism for job growth include:

  • food and beverage (43,410 new jobs);
  • recreation and entertainment (20,530 new jobs); and
  • hotels and other accommodation (18,920 new jobs).

Losing workers can be costly and challenging given that 45% of tourism employers had at least one hard-to-fill vacancy, the report noted.

Recruitment and training costs add up, meaning that it can cost a tourism operation more than 12 months' salary to lose and replace a manager or professional and more than four months' salary to lose and replace an hourly worker.

Some key strategies for solving the recruitment challenge include:

  • improving and expanding collaboration among industry, government and other stakeholders;
  • marketing job opportunities internationally; and
  • fostering partnerships with summer and winter employers to explore the exchange of seasonal workers.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom

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