August 15, 2016 - 3:43 PM
KELOWNA - The Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC) conducted its first Business Walk to the professional services sector from July 11 to 15, 2016.
Of the 57 companies interviewed, 16 per cent of the businesses rated their environment as fair/steady and 84 per cent rated their environment as positive and growing for a total of 100 per cent of the businesses.
The 57 businesses interviewed represent 760 total employees (110 PT/contract, 650 FT).
The July Business Walk saw industry stakeholders connect with businesses ranging in size from one to 130 employees. They represent a broad range of professional services from computer service providers, architects and financial institutions to legal, engineering, investment and insurance firms.
The Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (PST) sector is one of the region’s fastest growing sectors and a source of mainly full time, year-round positions. Many of the professional services companies visited provided information not only on their own companies, but information on trends, opportunities and challenges affecting their diverse clients.
Other highlights from the Professional Services Business Walk:
An increase of 14 per cent in the number of full-time, part-time and contract/temporary workers over the next three years was projected – from 760 to 863 full time, part time and contract/temporary employees.
44 per cent of professional services businesses expect their total number of full time employees to increase over the next 3 years, contributing 103 additional full time jobs to the Central Okanagan economy.
Challenges related to recruitment and retention of skilled professionals were the major barrier to growth cited by professional service businesses. Of the 53 per cent of that were experiencing difficulty, hard to fill positions included lawyers with specialized experience, legal assistants, conveyancers, certified insurance advisors, engineers with specialties and architects.
The large majority – 96 per cent - said they did not plan to exit their businesses in the next 5 years, for example by selling or closing.
Information from the Professional Services Business Walk is communicated to multiple stakeholder groups for consideration in the development of programs and services that can assist professional services throughout the region.
Stakeholder groups throughout the region will conduct the annual Regional Business Walk on Oct. 5, 2016.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016