British Columbia's skilled work force is expected to undergo an invisible shift in coming years as the pool of younger workers becomes smaller than the number of aging workers who have their eye on retirement. In a 10-part series, The Globe and Mail looks at the 10 jobs expected to be in the highest demand in B.C. in the next decade. This is part nine.
Throughout the month-long campaign leading up to Christy Clark's surprise election victory last year, the Liberal Leader hammered home the promise of job creation by touring construction sites and natural gas plants, operating excavators and donning a signature hard hat.
The role of heavy equipment operator is in fact in large demand: B.C. is expected to need nearly 7,000 of them over the next decade, in no small part due to energy projects. The B.C. Jobs Plan is aiming to bring at least four natural gas pipelines and terminals online by 2020.
That means the province will be looking for people like Rob Hinksman, a heavy equipment operator currently working at a Richmond, B.C.-based organics management company. A construction worker for 15 years, Mr. Hinksman switched jobs seven years ago, his decision spurred by an interest in the heavy construction equipment.
"I was always fascinated with the excavator," said Mr. Hinksman, 48. "With my age and all, I knew I couldn't keep doing the physical labour. But mostly, I just wanted to get into that machine. I knew I could do it."
He went back to school to earn a certificate – an investment that he says cost him about $14,000 but made him look more attractive to prospective employers – and began working shortly after. Depending on what is needed that day, Mr. Hinksman might see himself behind the wheel of an excavator, a bulldozer, a front-end loader or a rubber-tire backhoe. With experience and expertise, Mr. Hinksman says a typical day for him now begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 3:30 p.m. Younger employees can often expect longer days and less desirable hours, however.
It can be tough work – and dangerous when gas, water or electrical lines are involved – but the ability to work on all machines keeps Mr. Hinksman interested.
According to the most recent (2006) census statistics, 97 per cent of heavy equipment operators in B.C. were male and about half of them were between the ages of 45 and 64.
British Columbia's skilled workforce is expected to undergo an invisible shift in coming years as the pool of younger workers becomes smaller than the number of aging workers who have their eye on retirement. In a 10-part series, The Globe and Mail looks at the 10 jobs expected to be in highest demand in B.C. in the next decade. Check back every Monday for the latest instalment.
- Introduction: Skills-training program aims to curtail a coming jobs crisis
- Part One: B.C. will need 25,000 nurses by 2022
- Part Two: More than 16,000 transport truck drivers needed in B.C. by 2022
- Part Three: Data predict 13,000 job openings in carpentry in B.C. over the next decade
- Part Four: Data show B.C. will need 13,450 financial auditors, accountants over the next decade
- Part Five: Stats say B.C. expects 13,600 job openings for cooks now until 2022
- Part Six: Early childhood education has great value but little reward
- Part Seven: With eyes on LNG boom, demand for construction workers in B.C. to rise
- Part Eight: Statistics estimate 7,230 electricians needed over the next decade in B.C.
- Part Nine: Almost 7,000 heavy-equipment operators will be needed in B.C.
- Part 10: B.C. expects LNG industry to boost demand for welders to 3,980 over next decade
In the table below, select an occupation to see more facts. We'll add details for a new job each week.
10 jobs expected to be in highest demand in B.C. in the next decade
|Job Title||Number of job openings over the next 10 years|
|Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses||24,660|
|Transport truck drivers||16,300|
|Financial auditors and accountants||13,450|
|Early childhood educators and assistants||9,050|
|Construction trades helpers and labourers||8,170|
|Electricians (except industrial and power system)||7,230|
|Heavy equipment operators (except crane)||6,760|
|Welders and related machine operators||3,890|
Areas with greatest needs
What you'll earn
According to census statistics, the provincial average salary is between
The provincial average full-time hourly rate ranges between