A WorkBC report says that if five liquid natural gas (LNG) plants were built in northern B.C. over the next 10 years, up to 100,000 jobs could be created: 58,700 direct and indirect construction jobs, 23,800 permanent direct and indirect jobs for operations, and “thousands more of induced jobs due as a result of households having more income.”
There are currently 47 major industrial projects each worth $500 million or more are in the planning stage, and most are set to break ground in the next three years. These projects are primarily in the northern part of B.C. and many are related to the development of the LNG industry.
There will be thousands of jobs in Kitimat, which is the site of three proposed major LNG plants, including Kitimat LNG (Chevron and Apache) and LNG Canada (Shell) . The community is already experiencing a shortage of skilled tradespeople such as carpenters, electricians, millwrights, and sheet metal workers which are all required for work leading up to the construction of the plants and related projects.
Prince George is another city experiencing a desperate need for workers as it hovers around a five per cent unemployment rate. At this rate, the city is functionally fully employed and there are employment opportunities across all sectors of the economy whether you’re looking for a career as a lawyer, an accountant, in project management or health care, or if you’re looking to be a welder or engineer.
The B.C. Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation’s projections for job opportunities are based on workers reaching retirement plus economic growth. They’re also based on the growth of the LNG industry over the next several years.
Fort St. John is another city in need of skilled workers and is in the midst of a natural gas boom. The economy is growing and the population in the region is set to double to 123,000 within six years, even if only one or two of the big LNG proposals go ahead (there are also coal-mining ventures and a BC Hydro dam proposed). Unemployment numbers in Fort St. John are very low and they are in need of just about every skilled labour there is, whether it's in the professionals, in the trades or in hospitality services.
The average unemployment rate in B.C. is currently about 6.2 per cent across all age groups and according to the Labour Market Outlook, “by 2016 the number of workers needed in B.C. is expected to exceed the number of workers available province-wide.” This will lead to an estimated shortage of 61,500 workers by 2020.
According to WorkBC the top 10 occupations required by 2018 are:
- Construction trades helpers and laborers, 27,000-28,500 with a potential increase of 10,500-12,000
- Steamfitters and pipe fitters, 3,000-3,200 with a potential increase of 2,900-3,100
- Carpenters, 35,000-38,000 with a potential increase of 2,200-2,300
- Transport truck drivers, 40,500-43,000 with a potential increase of 2,100-2,300
- Welders, 11,500-12,300 with a potential increase of 1,800-2,000
- Heavy equipment operators, 13,700 with a potential increase of 1,500-1,600
- Concrete finishers, 2,100-1,300 with a potential increase of 1,100-1,200
- Gas fitters, 1,600-1,700 with a potential increase of 850-900
- Purchasing agents and officers, 5,400-5,700 with a potential increase of 850-900
- Crane operators, 2,600-2,800 with a potential increase of 650-750