Another summer season is upon us. There is much to celebrate, and given how far we have come over the last two years, however, this season is not without its challenges for operators. While the doomsayers are still quiet, it is hard to ignore the economic realities of rising inflation and a tight labour market.
Here is BC’s tourism and hospitality industry; July Employment statistics tell a more encouraging story, with July industry employment of 350,500, up 8% from the previous month of 324,250 in June of 2022. While, employment in the industry remains lower than pre-COVID levels, with 8,750 fewer jobs when compared to July 2019. However, this number is higher than July 2020 (303,500) and July 2021 (308,750).
July data also demonstrates an increase in full-time positions, month over month, with 69% of the workforce employed full time in July, up from 65% in June.
The data shows us the impact of visitors with occupation rates and food and beverages revenues increasing month over month. This is just a brief sample of the industry-specific data provided monthly in our Employment Tracker, which details a range of critical variables that can help the industry quickly and accurately understand what is happening here in BC.
We continue to support labour recovery, including keeping the government informed of the day-to-day realities of the workforce situation and the solutions. Throughout July, go2HR participated in engagement sessions and contributed to the various submissions to Canada’s Federal Tourism Growth Strategy 2022 to provide a BC perspective and our labour market expertise.
The first was Tourism HR Canada (THRC). Their submission proposes immediate and long-term interventions. Immediately, THRC prioritizes the need to build a healthy supply of workers. They recognize that successful strategies for recovery and growth require workers but must also consider skill deficiencies and how to overcome barriers to employment. They advocate investing in education and training programs that are responsive to industry needs.
Here in BC, a joint submission by BCHA and TIABC offered similar solutions.
Their submission also incorporated the industry-led labour recovery framework. We really appreciate their steadfast voice and advocacy for BC at the federal level for our industry associations.
At the federal level, the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses, led by the Hotel Association of Canada and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada submission offered similar solutions based on the same pillars of attracting and retaining the workforce and building a regenerative and inclusive tourism industry.
The call to action is echoed throughout. We need a multi-pronged approach that combines immigration policy, investment in recruitment and skills development and concentrated efforts to grow the domestic labour supply by addressing challenges such as housing and transportation.
The prognosis is common throughout. Workforce recovery is essential for the industry’s economic recovery. As we shift gears and the pandemic is further in the rearview mirror than ever, we can increasingly focus on advancing industry labour recovery efforts.
We look forward to continuing to work together.