OTTAWA, ON –/COMMUNITYWIRE/– The bio-economy, a potentially burgeoning sector of the Western Canada economy, is poised to create jobs, but the current pipeline for those positions is three-quarters empty.
This was the conclusion of an unprecedented labour market study by BioTalent Canada released this fall. Today, the organization released eight reports that unpack the current landscape, trends, challenges, and opportunities facing each region.
The report on Western Canada – including British Columbia and Alberta – and an accompanying report on Metro Vancouver conclude that the region’s talent pipeline is insufficiently stocked to meet the talent demand. It is likely that Western Canada’s biotech industry will lack 18,800 bio-economy workers by 2029, and current estimates indicate there will not be enough workers to meet labour needs.
While other regions of Canada expect to see a significant post-pandemic decline in bio-economy employment in 2021, Western Canada does not. Employment in the region’s bio-economy is expected to grow by just under 2.0% in the short term and by 1.2% annually over the medium/longer term. Whether potential employers can recruit the needed workers remains in question.
The reports note that the COVID-19 pandemic exposed significant gaps in the Canadian bio-economy, notably in bio-manufacturing and processing capacity, which saw Canada initially unable to produce sufficient protective equipment and having no domestic capacity to develop and manufacture vaccines. Efforts to close this gap could be hampered by a lack of qualified labour.
Estimates suggest Western Canada will need an additional 4,760 bio-manufacturing workers by 2029 (including 1,220 in bio-industrial and 1,740 in agri-bio) even without considering expansion growth due to recently announced federal investments. Only 25% of those positions will be fillable by predicted supply during this period.
“To fill the shortages, the bio-economy will need to develop new strategies,” says BioTalent President and CEO Rob Henderson. “In Western Canada, this could include efforts to broaden the talent pool. Western Canada’s bio-economy has a higher percentage of visible minorities than other regions, but the opportunity for the industry to be more diverse exists.”
Other notable findings in the Western Canada regional analysis:
Sub-regional differences in economic conditions impact on bio-economy activity in parts of the region. Some of the more notable trends in sub-regions of Western Canada:
Northern British Columbia
For additional information and to read the full reports, visit: biotalent.ca/lmistudy.
Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.
About BioTalent Canada
BioTalent Canada supports the people behind life-changing science. Trusted as the go-to source for labour market intelligence, BioTalent Canada guides bio-economy stakeholders with evidence-based data and industry-driven standards. BioTalent Canada is focused on igniting the industry’s brainpower bridging the gap between job-ready talent and employers and ensuring the long-term agility, resiliency, and sustainability of one of Canada’s most vital sectors. Recently named one of the 50 Best Workplaces in Canada with 10-50 employees and certified as a Great Place to Work® for 2021, BioTalent Canada practices the same industry standards it recommends to its stakeholders. These distinctions were awarded to BioTalent Canada following a thorough and independent survey analysis conducted by Great Place to Work®.
For more information, please visit biotalent.ca.
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Rob Henderson is available for comment.