Kamloops & District Chamber of Commerce News

Regional Chambers Collaborate to Address Labour Market Gap in Thompson-Okanagan Region 

The Kamloops & District Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a highly productive regional meeting on July 12, 2023, which brought together Chambers from Armstrong and Spallumcheen, Clearwater, Salmon Arm, and Lillooet. 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. 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 February 7 and March 3, 2023. The region stood out with one of the lowest proportions of respondents (29%) 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%) identifying as students, surpassing the provincial average (7%). Notably, the Thompson-Okanagan region also boasted a higher percentage of individuals participating in the gig economy compared to other regions in BC, with 82% of respondents acknowledging their involvement in such work, compared to the provincial average of 64%. 

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

Top Challenges: Employers in the region, similar to the rest of BC, 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% of employers in BC faced challenges finding qualified candidates within their offered salary range, while approximately 40% 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%) was slightly lower than the provincial average (23%). 

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 over 80% of employers reported having policies in place to support a diverse workforce, only 40% 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: https://bcchamber.org/addressing-the-labour-market-gap/  

The regional meeting served as a catalyst for collaboration, paving the way for the Chambers to collectively address the labour market gap in the Thompson-Okanagan region. By leveraging the valuable insights gained from the report, the Chambers aim to develop and implement strategies that promote economic growth, enhance employment opportunities, and create a thriving business environment for all stakeholders. This project is funded by the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and led by the BC Chamber of Commerce.

Media Contact:

Acacia Pangilinan

Executive Director

Kamloops & District Chamber of Commerce

E: acacia@kamloopschamber.ca

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The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce is situated on the traditional and unceded lands of the Tk'emlups Te Secwepemc within Secwepemc'ulucw, the traditional territory of the Secwepemc people. We are honored to live and work and play on this land and acknowledge the complicated history and humbly move forward in a spirit of collaboration and gratitude.