07 May (BIV) Technology report: B.C.’s tech sector a job growth leader in 2013
Written by Richard Chu
As seen on biv.com
BC’s technology sector is bucking the provincial job trend and growing like gangbusters.
According to Statistics Canada, professions in the natural and applied sciences in B.C. have seen consistent job growth for the past five months and has been one of the few sectors to see overall growth in that period.
By March 2013, the sector reached a new employment record with 161,300 B.C. residents employed in science and technology-related professions ranging from engineers and IT-professionals to technicians and scientists. That’s up from 154,800 jobs by the end of October 2012, and well above the previous peak in sector jobs of 157,700 in October 2010.
The overall result has been a notable increase in the number of people with higher-than-average paying jobs. In B.C., the median wage of professionals in the sector is around $1,200 per week, which is at least 50% more than the provincial median wage of under $800 a week.
Most of the job increases in the past six months have primarily been in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley regions of the province. However, recently, science and technology-related jobs have increased throughout the province, particularly in B.C.’s interior.
Data from BIV’s list of the top 100 technology companies in B.C. suggests much of the job growth has come primarily from smaller and medium-sized companies. Total employment of the Top 100 list has remained relatively static, rising less than 2% over the past year, which is less than half of the 4.5% increase in sector jobs for the 12-month period ending March 2013.
Nevertheless, some of B.C.’s biggest technology companies have grown well above the industry average. HootSuite has continued to expand its local and global presence, boosting total staff above 300, 90% of them located in Vancouver. Other firms showing double-digit employment growth include Microsoft Canada, Global Relay, Westport Innovations, Bardel Entertainment and Langley-based Advanced Integration Technology.
Despite the successes over the years, the industry is continuing to find new ways to grow. The BC Technology Industry Association is looking for ways to double the level of venture capital investments in B.C. and develop new ways to further attract talent and provide training as part of a four-point plan released last December.
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