Between 2018 and 2028, new job openings in Prince Rupert are projected to increase by an average of 3.3% per year, three times the projected provincial average of 1.1% per year, according to a study released by Redesign Rupert
The 2019 Prince Rupert Labour Market Study is a collaborative research project with the City of Prince Rupert, the Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA), Community Futures of the Pacific Northwest, and Hecate Strait Employment Development Society (HSEDS).
“As the port industry continues to grow in Prince Rupert, the multiple businesses and organizations that drive it are going to need more qualified and diverse talent. The Labour Market Study has been essential to inform a strategy that improves our ability to train and develop our existing workforce and help us understand how to successfully recruit new residents, ultimately improving our collective ability to meet the labour force challenge and realize the vision of a thriving port city,” said Ken Veldman, vice-president of Public Affairs and Sustainability for PRPA, one of several partners of Redesign Rupert.
The study contextualizesthe job projections that form the basis of the Prince Rupert 2030 Vision for the next 10 years of growth and development in Prince Rupert.
“The Labour Market Study is the first layer of a strategic roadmap to help our city thrive into the future. This report helps us understand the gaps in our current workforce, the impacts of future projects, and a framework for advancing solutions to recruit employees from within and outside our community,” John Farrell, general manager, Community Futures said.
The study helped Redesign Rupert and its partners plan for the launch of a community recruitment brand, with recommendations around community marketing, local education and training initiatives, and developing tracking measures and benchmarks for recruitment success.
“This study represents the voices of local employers and their challenges in the labour market. This research brings solutions to offset their challenges, support our local residents to succeed in employment and build a resilient local economy,” Shauna Wouters, chief administrative pfficer, HSEDS.
Population data for the Prince Rupert area highlighted why the labour shortage is so severe. Population growth in the area has remained stagnant despite rapid economic growth. For the municipality, the population changed very little between 2011 and 2018. By comparison, the province as a whole experienced annual population growth of 1.5% per year over the same period.
Overall it is estimated that 1,910 new fulltime jobs will be created in Prince Rupert up to 2030, with projections of 1,016 port jobs, 508 ancillary support jobs, and 386 tertiary jobs.
Should all capital projects go ahead as proposed, in peak years, additional labour requirements could be as high as 600 annual positions in the construction industry and as high as 280 annual positions in other related industries.
The study provides a list of the top 20 priority occupations where job growth will occur most rapidly and where increased recruitment support will be needed.
“These two reports will work collaboratively to help Redesign Rupert provide more support to local employers and develop new tools to market Prince Rupert as a vibrant place to live and work,” Paul Venditelli, manager of Transportation and Economic Development for the city, said.
The report also provides a summary of efforts by other rural, resource driven communities to recruit new residents, outlining their strategies and lessons learned.There is a list of recommended target recruitment grounds, as well as a summary of recommendations from local employers to direct Redesign Rupert’s future work.
Jenna Cocullo | Journalist
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