Author Archives: W. Brook Pearce

About W. Brook Pearce

I have had the honour to serve the residents of Vancouver Island in and through job/career transitions for over 20 years. Currently I work with students and alumni of Vancouver Island University.

Job Vacancies, third quarter 2017

The third quarter of 2017 is proving that the economy is continuing on it’s robust growth as Canadian businesses reported 468,000 job vacancies, up 62,000 (+15.1%) from the third quarter a year earlier.

The job vacancy rate represents the sum of all vacant jobs expressed as a percentage of overall labour demand.  Simply, there are more job vacancies than people to fill those vacant jobs.

British Columbia is leading the trend in Canada with a third quarter increase of 16,000 (+20.2%) job vacancies from the previous year.  BC has the highest rate at 4.2% up from 3.6% the third quarter of 2016.  Meaning, more jobs than people to fill them.

So What?

Well if the trend continues it will become increasing difficult for employers to find appropriate employees.  We will see more “Help Wanted” signs in windows.  It could make it easier for people to secure opportunities as employers may need to lower their expectations on what is an appropriate or qualified candidate.  Mid-term, it could increase wages as employers compete for the best qualified candidates.  Long term it could even slow the overall economy as businesses scale back production and services due to labour shortages.

So savvy employers are being proactive and already posting summer positions with the hope of locking up summer employees now, before it’s too late.

Now What?

The summer of 2018 looks like a great time to find a summer job as there may be more vacancies than previous years.  As always, it doesn’t hurt to start your search now and although many employers don’t know what their needs will be in May, if they are savvy they could be open to discussing summer employment already.

For you, start by preparing yourself and your marketing tools (resume, cover letter, references, portfolio).  Research and identify what organizations you are interested in working with this summer and professionally, respectfully introduce yourself.  Don’t wait for posted positions to emerge but be prepared that the organization might not be ready to accept applicants or new employees just yet.  But by introducing yourself and your interest you are potentially helping them solve a problem.  Be proactive, respectful, enthusiastic and professional, most employers would love to have summer employees like that.

Recreation and Amusements in Canada – 2016

Recreation and Amusements in Canada – 2016

How much revenue does the recreation and amusement industry generate in Canada?

$ 9.7 billion was generated in 2016 in fitness and recreational sports centres, golf courses and country clubs, skiing facilities and all other amusement and recreation industries a 6.1% increase from 2015.

Fitness and recreational sports centres alone accounted for 3.6 billion an 11.9% increase from 2015.

Skiing revenues increased to $941.2 million an 11.6% increase from 2016.

Amusement parks and arcades generated $556.0 million, a 9.6% increase from 2015.

Recreational sports teams, marinas, bowling alleys, observation towers and all other related activities generated total operating revenue of $2.6 billion up 2.5% from 2015.

Adapted December 12, 2017 from

Entry Level does not always mean minimum wage

Entry Level does not always mean minimum wage

According to “Getting your foot in the door: A look at entry level job vacancies in Canada,” not surprising employers offer lower wages ($12.70)to fill entry level positions that require no education however, employers looking to fill entry level positions requiring a post-secondary degree offer the highest paying entry-level jobs ($29.30).  The challenge for degree graduates is that typically the number of new graduates exceeds the number of available entry level positions requiring skilled employees.  So what is a new graduate to do?

Canadian employers are looking for new employees who can adapt to a changing workplace and industry conditions, those who demonstrate strong people skills; collaboration, functional knowledge and problem solving skills, all of which a robust university education strives to instil in graduates.

Vancouver Island University has recently adopted Graduate Attributes, based upon the three pillars of Literacies, Intellectual and Practical Skills and Civic Engagement with the belief that as students learn at VIU they acquire these attributes with the intention of becoming valued contributors in their chose communities, no matter the field of study.  These graduate attributes provide a common skill based language of learning that employers can understand and value.  An additional manner to acquire these skills and provide evidence of learning is through work integrated learning opportunities.

So new grads should consider marketing themselves in the manner that best addresses the needs of the employer and simply assuming that an employer will hire based solely upon a 3.85 GPA and university degree might prove short sighted.  Possibly addressing employer needs and requirements through evidence based statements of learning framed in the graduate attributes uses terminology and skill sets that employers are looking for university graduate entry level hires.

November 2017 – Labour Force Survey

Labour Force Survey – November 2017


The BC economy has contributed significantly to Canadian employment increases in November 2017 dropping the unemployment rate below 6% for the first time since February 2008.  Since November 2016, a number of provincial economies have seen the number of fulltime jobs increase in Ontario by 181,000, in BC by 92,000, in Quebec by 78,000 and in PEI by 2,500.  BC’s unemployment rate remains the lowest in the country at 4.8%, followed by Manitoba, Quebec 5.4% and Ontario 5.5%.

Year over year employment gains occurred in both goods and service sector with construction adding 49,600 jobs and manufacturing 91,200, trade 82, 400, professional scientific technical 76,900, transportation 50,000 and healthcare 50,100 to November 2017.

Canadian Economy: Fall 2017

Canadian Economy: Fall 2017


Canadian full time employment for core-age workers (25-54) strengthened through the first half of 2017 and is continuing into the third quarter although at a slower pace.  Annual Canadian employment growth strengthened to above 2% during the summer months lowering the national unemployment rate.

Total employment rose by 186,000 (+1.0%) during the first half of 2017, led by gains in full-time work and among core-age individuals (aged 25 to 54). Gains in professional, scientific and technical services and in health care and social assistance, accounted for over two-thirds of the overall increase with manufacturing leading the goods sector growth.

BC Led Employment Growth

British Columbia led employment growth among the provinces during the first six months of the year; overall full-time employment in British Columbia rose by 78,000.

National Real GDP

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased in a number of goods and services industries from November 2016 to June 2017, with increases occurring in mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction, manufacturing, construction wholesale trade, retail trade, and finance industries.  Overall, real GDP growth, measured year-over-year, increased steadily from January, before rising above 4% in May and June.  Over the past four quarters, economic growth in Canada has outpaced growth in the United States

Despite this robust economic growth, the consumer price inflation decelerated from 2.1% in January 2017 to 1.0% in June.  This reduced inflationary pressure appears to influence consumer spending supported by higher outlays on automobiles, clothing, footwear and housing-related expenditures.


Retrieved and adapted October 19, 2017 from

Looking for a job?

Job Vacancies, 2017 (2nd Quarter)

An indicator of a positive and growing economy is the number of job vacancies in a labour market.  Since the 2nd quarter of 2016, BC has recorded 14,000 job vacancies with the majority concentrated in two of the seven economic regions of the province: Lower Mainland—Southwest (+10,000) and Vancouver Island and Coast (+1,900).

As such, British Columbia continued to have the highest job vacancy rate among the provinces at 4.0%, up from 3.5% one year earlier.

The job vacancy rate is defined as the portion of jobs that are unfilled out of all available payroll jobs expressed as a percentage of labour demand.  A positive value means there are a number of jobs unfilled in a labour market.

In many sectors, British Columbia had a job vacancy rate above the national average, notably in accommodation and food services (6.4%), administration and support services (5.9%) and construction (5.2%) which means if you are looking for a job, employers in these sectors are very eager to hire qualified new employees.

The sharing Economy in Canada

Many of us have taken an Uber or stayed at a private residence through AirBNB when we travel.  According to Statistics Canada it is estimated that in one year (November 2015 to October 2016) over $1.1 Billion was spent by Canadians domestically ($367 million) and internationally ($698 million) for private accommodations and $241 million on ride sharing. (StatsCAN, 2017,02,28).

In BC the PST (provincial sales tax) on accommodations is 8% and each typical hotel/motel room generates an additional MRDT (municipal and regional district tax) of up to 3% to raise revenues for tourism marketing, projects and programs within the municipality.

It begs the question; what are the long term implications of this trend?  Although this report targets Canadian travelers, how much accommodation revenue is lost to international travelers visiting Canada due to the sharing economy?  What are the overall tax implications to communities? How much revenue is lost?

Full disclosure, I have stayed at an AirBNB’s while traveling and found the experience to be positive and at the time I did it purely to save money while in North Vancouver ($50 a night for a private room Queen bed and shared bathroom compared to  $120 plus $15 parking Queen bedroom).  Truthfully at the time I didn’t really consider the implications of my actions. I hadn’t considered the tax revenues lost to the province or the municipality. I was just looking for a cheap place to stay near the North Shore mountain biking trails.  Through this experience I gave up my typical autonomy and anonymity associated with hotel travel and gained a unanticipated experience meeting travelers from India, USA and UK. I was able to hear through their international eyes, and experiences what they thought of Vancouver, BC and Canada.  So I have seen both sides, but I will likely limit my shared accommodations adventures in the future

What are your thoughts? What are your experiences?


10 Economic Regions with the Highest Job Vacancy Rates in Canada

This table shows which regions in Canada had the greatest number of job vacancies (level of unoccupied positions) for the last quarter of 2016.  (Note 5 of the ten are in BC).  According to StatsCan there were 402,000 jobs vacant in Canada at the end of 2016 with a portion of those in BC.

Now past rates don’t indicate future trends but if these regions have had a difficult time finding employees a few months ago, that trend may continue for a while. So, if you are looking for work and are open to travel to a different region, these 10 are good options. Employers are looking for smart, educated employees, self directed and willing employees.  Take time to research each region through a local Labour Market site.



July 2014 Labour Force Survey

July 2014 Labour Force Survey
Brief adapted from

Summer employment for students*
Age Unemployment Rate
20 – 24 8%
17 – 19 16.8%
15 – 16 28%

30,000 more students aged 20 to 24 were employed in July 2014 compared to July 2013 resulting in an unemployment rate of 8% and employment rate of 70%, little changed when compared with a year earlier.
According to the LFS most of the increase occurred in part-time employment.

For students aged 17 to 19, the July 2014 unemployment rate was unchanged at 16.8% with an employment rate of 58.5% both rates similar to those observed in July 2013.

Students aged 15 to 16, suffered an unemployment rate of 28.0%, with an employment rate of 29.6%, virtually unchanged compared with July 2013.
*NOTE: The Labour Force Survey collects labour market data from May to August, about young people (students) aged 15 to 24 who were attending school full time in March and who intend to return to school full time in the fall. Statistical comparisons are on a year-over-year basis, as the published data is not seasonally adjusted.

Province Unemployment rate
BC 6.1
Alberta 4.5
Saskatchewan 3.3
Manitoba 5.1
Ontario 7.4
Quebec 8.1
New Brunswick 9.8
Nova Scotia 9.1
Prince Edward Island 9.4
Newfoundland/Labrador 11.9

Canada-US comparison**
Canada 6.0%
US 6.2%
**Note: Adjusted to US concepts
For further information, see “The labour market in Canada and the United States since the last recession, 2007 to 2014.”