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Kamloops faces worker shortage over next 10 years: Consultant

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KAMLOOPS – Businesses in the Thompson-Cariboo region may have a tough time replacing retiring workers over the next ten years and job seekers who want in will have to bring the right skills and education, says a labour market consultant.

Rob Malatest, of R.A. Malatest and Associates told area political leaders at the Double Tree by Hilton yesterday the region is due for a shortage of skilled workers that should continue to grow at least until 2025.

“The story here is not so much the growth and absolute number of employees,” he said. "The story is really — wow — this region has a big, big hole to fill in terms of the replacement of existing workers.”

He says some employment groups could see as much as 90 per cent of its workforce retire my 2025.

He spoke Friday about his labour market study, commissioned by Venture Kamloops. His firm’s research focused on the Thompson-Cariboo region including Barriere, Merritt, Cache Creek and Kamloops, and spoke to 565 employers or one sixth of employers in the region.

He described a ‘skills mismatch’ in the city right now and made suggestions for how Thompson Rivers University can help fill in the gap.

He predicted the region will have between 30,000 to 35,000 vacancies in ten years, with the majority – roughly 70 percent – requiring post-secondary or skills training.

The report identified tradespeople as the most in demand occupation, estimating over 5,000 workers will be needed in the coming years. He also predicted roughly 2,500 health care workers, more than 4,000 business, finance and administrative employees and more than 1,000 hospitality and tourism workers will be needed by 2025.

“The region has a very high level of vacancies right now, about eight per cent in the region. Some regions have vacancies almost at 10 per cent. We have a 10 per cent vacancy rate, we got 4,000 workers that are unemployed right now. So it tells me there’s a skills mismatch,” Malatest said.

Malatest made several recommendations in the report to help alleviate the stresses in the market now and prepare for the challenges of the future.

He suggested developing a regional committee to help stay abreast of labour force training needs and increasing basic skills training to prepare unemployed people for the new opportunities.

Along with expanding trades programs into smaller communities, he highly recommended creating a full engineering degree program at Thompson Rivers University.

Malatest says these jobs, in cooperation with the trades, are in demand for future capital projects in the region.

Currently, the university has an engineering transfer program where students could start their training but would have to finish their degree at a different institution.

A graph from the consultant's report explaining projected retirements by labour class.
A graph from the consultant's report explaining projected retirements by labour class.
Image Credit: RA Malatest and Associates

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at dreynolds@infonews.ca or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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