Young workers desert region
Okanagan Edge Staff - Jun 12, 2019 - Biz Releases

Photo: Campaign Creators, Unsplash

Young people fled the Thompson-Okanagan workforce in droves last year.

That was one of the findings when the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia released its annual Regional Check-up employment report on Wednesday. The region lost 7,700 workers last year, and a whopping 42 per cent of those were between the ages of 19 and 24.

“Given the recruitment challenges we are experiencing, it is concerning to see the departure of 3,200 young workers,” Kelowna MNP LLP partner Karen Christiansen said in a press release.

“Our region’s economy is service-oriented, and many of the lower-level jobs are filled by young workers. As demand continues to grow from service industries, we will need to seek innovative ways to source and recruit talent.”

Overall, the Thompson-Okanagan lost 5,200 goods sector jobs in 2018, including 3,300 in the agriculture industry and 2,000 in manufacturing.

“Our service sector added a total of 700 jobs,” Christiansen said. “But this increase is somewhat deceiving, as only the trade, education, and health care and social assistance industries reported job gains.

“In fact, more telling are the 12,200 jobs that were lost in the other service industries. While this could be attributed to slowing housing activity and moderating consumer demand, the bigger issue is recruitment challenges. On average, there were over 11,000 job vacancies in each quarter of 2018, up 14.4 per cent from 2017.”

Despite overall job losses in the Thompson-Okanagan, the region’s unemployment rate fell by one percentage point to 6.1 per cent.

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