Tourism labour shortages predicted in Kootenay Rockies

The Kootenay Rockies' tourism industry could face labour shortages as early as 2014

The Kootenay Rockies’ tourism industry could face labour shortages as early as 2014.

According to a report released by go2hr, B.C.’s tourism and hospitality human resource association, regional studies show that over 3,000 job openings are expected in the Kootenay-Rockies by 2020, but although labour demand is predicted to grow, by 2020 the region is expected to have a labour shortage of 438 positions that will need to be filled. The food and beverage and recreation and entertainment sectors will be the hardest hit.

“The Kootenay Rockies region is already feeling the effects of labour shortages in the tourism sector,” said Heidi Romich, owner of Heid Out Restaurant in Cranbrook. “A number of our residents are drawn into the resource industries in the Kootenay Rockies, Northern British Columbia, and Alberta, making it increasingly difficult for small businesses to fill positions in our industry.”

Tourism businesses and destination management and marketing organizations are being encouraged to make labour recruitment, retention and training a priority.

“The Kootenay Rockies faces specific pressures within our industry,” said go2hr CEO Arlene Keis. “The unemployment rate is already as tight as what we saw during the labour shortages in the mid-2000s.  Compared to many areas of the province, the region will also have a higher percentage of jobs opening up due to retirements, and the Kootenay Rockies is also affected by seasonality and retention challenges, particularly in resort communities.”

Through the labour market strategy, go2hr is working with industry, government and other stakeholders to take strong, proactive steps to leverage tourism’s increasing economic importance and address impending labour shortages.

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