Demographics are collections of data on specific population groups that show trends and allow the government to predict future conditions. Demographers ask census questions and analyze the answers to produce tallies of defined groups such as "baby boomers” or "immigrants to B.C. after 1990."
The latest census was in 2011. From one census to another, trends appear: population growth or decline, or a change in the average age of residents. One important workforce trend appears when you compare the population of immigrant wage earners with that of workers born in B.C. or elsewhere in Canada. From these demographics, governments can form an educated guess or "outlook."
Use the Job Trend Tracker tool to find out how many people are entering and leaving different careers, and how many openings there will be in occupations that interest you. Watch the videos for a quick tour of how it works.
Statistics can support early career planning in B.C. because every year they come from students who have recently earned a certificate, diploma or degree as part of their job preparation. The survey results enable others to look at students' program experience and level of satisfaction.
How Demographics Serve Workforce Planning
Here are two examples of the concerns that cause planners in government, finance, training institutions and labour unions to rely on demographics.
1. Whether B.C. will have a big enough supply of workers to meet the anticipated demand.
From the 2011 census, demographers can say:
- Tight labour market conditions are expected for B.C. in the latter half of the outlook period, starting in 2016. The tight conditions are expected to intensify towards 2020.
- Labour market prospects in the Lower Mainland/Southwest, Thompson-Okanagan and Kootenay regions are expected to be similar to the provincial outlook.
- The supply of workers in the Vancouver Island/Coast, Cariboo, North Coast and Nechako, and Northeast regions is expected to fall below demand in the first half of the outlook period around 2012 to 2015 and in 2020.
- Over the outlook period, the demand for workers is expected to outgrow the available supply by 61,500 workers. In other words, from 2010-2020, there will be more jobs than workers.
2. The impact of the aging workforce on employment
- In B.C., approximately 66 per cent of total job openings will be due to retirement. Replacing retiring workers is important for all careers and accounts for more than half of the total job openings.
- Replacement accounts for the greatest share of total openings for the following three career groups:
- Management (74 per cent)
- Jobs unique to primary industry (73 per cent)
- Jobs unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities (70 per cent)
Understanding the impact of changing demographics on the workforce can help you plan for a successful career.