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Finding employees a tough job in Greater Victoria

Report finds there are more job vacancies than unemployed workers
According to a new report, there are about four vacant jobs for every three unemployed persons in the labour force in British Columbia. (Black Press Media file photo)

Research from an economist suggests that the number of job vacancies in Greater Victoria exceeds the number of unemployed in the region.

Ryan Berlin, senior economist and director of intelligence with rennie, a real estate service and research company, points out that the economic region consisting of Vancouver Island and the Central Coast recorded 23,900 job vacancies for the second quarter of 2022. Matching data showed 9,100 unemployed individuals in the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) in June 2022. While the number of job vacancies in Greater Victoria itself is unavailable, Berlin suggests that the more regional figures offer a clue to the situation in Greater Victoria.

“Tough to estimate how many unemployed (people) would be in the rest of the economic region, but you could imagine it likely wouldn’t add up to 23,900 vacant jobs in the broader geography,” he said. “If this is actually the case, it would be a similar situation to that of the province as a whole.”

According to a report prepared by Berlin and Ryan Wyse, a senior analyst with the company, both Canada and B.C. experienced a record-high number of vacant positions and an all-time job vacancy rate, as of June 2022.

“With job vacancies up, and the unemployment rate down, there are now more vacant jobs in Canada than unemployed persons in the labour force; here in British Columbia, there are about (four) vacant jobs for every (three) unemployed persons in the labour force,” it reads.

RELATED: Victoria remains one of Canada’s most expensive rental markets: report

The report goes on to say that this discrepancy between the number of available jobs and the number of job seekers means employers will likely have to wait longer to expand their workforces at their desired pace or offer further incentives to fill roles (read: pay more) — or both.

While describing the larger economic picture with British Columbia as a geographic focus, the report also assigns Greater Victoria to a “dubious list” of Census Metropolitian Areas with high housing costs. Drawing on 2021 census data, the report pegs the shelter-cost-to-income ratio in Greater Victoria at 26 per cent — five per cent above the national average of 21. Only Vancouver (29.6 per cent) and Toronto (30.3 per cent) have higher ratios than Greater Victoria.

While nominally below the 30 per cent threshold of income going to housing, the report notes that such aggregate measures of housing affordability do not capture the “tremendous nuance” when it comes to who can and cannot afford a “suitable and adequate home” as renters spend more of their incomes on housing than homeowners. Homeowners with still outstanding mortgages “spend significantly more on housing” than those who have already paid them off, in pointing to a generational conflict between younger generations still establishing themselves and their older, more established and likely more wealthy cohorts.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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