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Okanagan-Shuswap chambers brainstorm labour market gap ideas

Armstrong-Spallumcheen and Salmon Arm chambers join counterparts in Thompson region for meeting
Thompson-Okanagan Chambers of Commerce recently meet in Kamloops to address the labour market gap in the region. (Black Press - file photo)

Chambers from the Thompson-Okanagan region, including Armstrong-Spallumcheen and Salmon Arm, hosted a highly productive meeting in Kamloops Wednesday, July 12.

The meeting’s primary focus was to address the prevailing labour market gap in the Thompson-Okanagan region by analyzing and discussing valuable data collected from the area.

“Recognizing the urgent need to adapt to the expectations and requirements of jobseekers, employers have been grappling with the challenges of attracting and retaining skilled staff,” said Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber executive director Patti Noonan. “Simultaneously, jobseekers face the daunting task of finding suitable employment despite the numerous opportunities available.”

To tackle this issue comprehensively, the chambers collectively utilized the insights provided by the “Addressing the Labour Market Gap” report, which draws upon the input of 1,225 jobseekers and 812 employers across the province.

Within the Thompson-Okanagan region, the report received responses from 249 jobseekers and 132 employers, who participated in the provincial survey conducted between Feb. 7 and March 3, 2023.

The region stood out with one of the lowest proportions of respondents (29 per cent) indicating that they were unemployed and actively seeking employment, compared to other surveyed regions. Moreover, it had one of the highest proportions of respondents (13 per cent) identifying as students, surpassing the provincial average (seven per cent).

Notably, the Thompson-Okanagan region also boasted a higher percentage of individuals participating in the gig economy compared to other regions in B.C., with 82 per cent of respondents acknowledging their involvement in such work, compared to the provincial average of 64 per cent.

Key highlights from the findings specific to the Thompson-Okanagan region include:

Top Challenges: Employers in the region, like the rest of B.C., identified finding qualified candidates that match the job description as their primary challenge. In contrast, jobseekers in the region cited finding jobs that are geographically convenient and align with their desired working conditions as their most common challenges, deviating from the provincial trend where jobseekers prioritize finding jobs that meet their salary expectations.

Recruitment Process: While provincial employers found defining salary ranges and offers as the most difficult part of the recruitment process, employers in the Thompson-Okanagan region, along with jobseekers, identified administrative and resource-related barriers as the most challenging aspects. Employers specifically highlighted the time required to review resumes and cover letters as their primary hurdle, whereas jobseekers expressed difficulty in receiving interview opportunities. Additionally, jobseekers identified networking as a barrier to entering the job market in the region.

Job Postings: Employers and jobseekers had different perspectives regarding the essential features of job postings. Employers prioritized work environment/office culture and comprehensive benefits, while jobseekers emphasized work-life balance and salary as the top two crucial factors. These findings aligned with the provincial trends.

Salaries: Nearly 50 per cent of employers in B.C. faced challenges finding qualified candidates within their offered salary range, while approximately 40 per cent of jobseekers found it difficult to find jobs that met their salary expectations. Notably, more employers in the Thompson-Okanagan region struggled with defining salary ranges and offers compared to the provincial average. On the other hand, the proportion of jobseekers in the region facing challenges in negotiating salary ranges (19 per cent) was slightly lower than the provincial average (23 per cent).

Diversity and Inclusion: Both jobseekers and employers recognized the importance of creating a safe and inclusive workplace for workers from diverse backgrounds. However, the report revealed a gap between employer policies and jobseeker experiences. While more than 80 per cent of employers reported having policies in place to support a diverse workforce, only 40 per cent of jobseekers reported experiencing such policies in their previous workplaces. This disparity appeared to be slightly more significant in the Thompson-Okanagan region compared to the provincial average.

To access the complete “Addressing the Labour Market Gap Insights Report,” including detailed findings and recommendations, please visit:

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