‘We are seeing a lot of retail jobs, but it isn’t all minimum wage’

More than 100 potential employers at the Black Press Career Fair in Langley on May 11

B.C.’s population is growing and with that growth comes a wealth of employment opportunities.

But what kinds of jobs are out there now, and what skills will be in high demand in the future?

According to the Business Council of B.C., wholesale jobs and the retail trade positions were the largest source of employment in Metro Vancouver this year.

Job growth in retail is followed by health care, technology and construction.

According to the B.C. government website WorkBC.ca, around 28,400 retail management positions will be created by 2025 with a median wage of $26 per hour.

“What we are seeing is a lot of retail jobs, but it isn’t all minimum wage,” said Colleen Clark, executive director of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce.

“Some retail owners are willing to pay higher to retain quality employees.”

As for which professionals will be in high demand, health care workers come out on top. Since 2008, the health care industry in B.C. has added 40,500 jobs and it is expected to continue to expand in tandem with the aging population, said the Business Council of B.C.

Health care jobs run the gamut from care aides working in seniors homes for $23 per hour, to pharmacists whose average income is $85,000 per year, according to Workopolis.com.

Meanwhile, a construction manager makes an average of $40 an hour, and there will be 6,900 of those positions available between now and 2025, according to WorkBC.

Computer programmers are also in high demand, with a median wage of $37 per hour. Transport truck drivers are also needed, with nearly 15,000 jobs expected to be up for grabs in the next five years. The average hourly pay for drivers is $25, says WorkBC.

The biggest employers in Metro Vancouver — in the public sector — are Fraser Health and the Surrey School District, which is currently hiring teachers.

In 2015, the top five private employers were Jim Pattison Group, Telus Corp., RBC Royal Bank, Providence Health Care and Air Canada, according to BCBC.

Want to farm? The B.C. Chamber of Commerce says agriculture recently saw a 9.9-per-cent increase in job growth.

Local agri-tourism farms and municipalities are currently hiring for summer work, said Clark.

If you are looking for a job or a bit of career advice, now is the perfect time to attend the Black Press Career Fair, taking place on Thursday, May 11, at the Langley Events Centre (7888 200 St.), from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

More than 100 employers will be looking to recruit talented people. There will also be post-secondary advisors on site and the day will feature addresses by keynote speakers.

Candy Ho is the co-op program director at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. She works with employers to secure work experience for students.

According to Ho, employers want to hire someone with a post-secondary education, but they are also looking for personality and a breadth of work and volunteer experience.

“I say to all my students, don’t wait until you graduate to volunteer in some role, whether it is by serving on a board or helping at an event. That, on a resumé, is invaluable.

“It shows you can multi-task and that you can work well with others,” said Ho, who is also on the faculty of arts at KPU.

Ho also advises people looking for work to pay attention to current events and evolving technology to show they are engaged in the world around them when talking to a potential new boss.

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