2014 Summit: MIND THE GAP Winning Global Talent for BC’s Continued Prosperity

Pre-emptive, bold and decisive are three words that define how British Columbia must approach winning the competition for global talent for the world’s top skilled workers in the coming years.

On March 28, 2014, more than 80 employers and industry representatives – along with representatives from government, post-secondary institutions and other key stakeholders – came together to address the looming shortage of skilled workers in BC at the Immigrant Employment Council of BC’s (IEC-BC) 2014 Summit, Mind the Gap, Winning Global Talent for BC’s Continued Prosperity.

BC is expected to face a labour shortage of at least 61,500 skilled workers by 2020 according to BC Labour Market Outlook, 2010 – 2020, due to an aging workforce, low birthrates and economic growth in emerging sectors and major projects – and this figure does not include the proposed LNG projects.  Further, in order to fill one million new job openings expected by 2020, the Province of BC has targeted the recruitment of 265,000 international workers as part of its labour supply plan.  At the same time, pressures on the labour supply side include a relatively low BC fertility rate, a relatively faster aging workforce, geographic and sectoral mismatches, a disconnect between labour demand and the supply of labour through existing employment and training programs and highly under-utilized immigrant talent.

These and other related themes were discussed at the day-long IEC-BC Summit.  With a broad group of participants, the goal was to inspire BC’s thought-leaders to develop solutions and commit to actions that will more effectively allow BC’s employers to tap into skilled immigrant talent to help the province’s workforce needs.  The Summit was also intended to elicit local and global best practices in talent attraction and mobility.

Mind The Gap 2014 included a full day of dialogue, including two keynote presentation, two senior government representatives, panel discussion with four experts and two sets of task force discussions, followed by plenary sessions where ideas were shared and themes emerged.  Based on a subsequent thematic analysis of presentations and the two task force discussions and plenary session, key themes and actions have been documented in a final report.