A recently released labour market report is helping the hospitality sector better understand the demand for cooks and chefs throughout the province.
Sam Sullivan, MLA for Vancouver-False Creek, highlighted the report’s findings on behalf of Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour today at an Apprenticeship Employer Recognition Event at the Cactus Club in Vancouver. The Province provided $140,000 in funding to go2HR, the tourism industry’s human resources association to conduct the Cook Labour Market Analysis Study. The study had input from Restaurants Canada, the British Columbia Restaurant and Foodservices Association, the Industry Training Authority’s Tourism and Hospitality Sector Advisory Group, and the BC Labour Market Information Office.
The report looks at cooking occupations in tourism, hospitality, health care, institutions and camps in the resource sector and asked how employers can better attract and retain skilled cooks and chefs.
The study found that demand for cooks and chefs is expected to increase on average 1.5% annually over the next 10 years. As many as 39% of employers say they’ve had a vacancy within the last year for jobs in their kitchens, which they also ranked as hard to fill. Some of the shortages are greatest outside of the Lower Mainland, especially with entry level positions at independent restaurants and those that operate seasonally.
To help address the shortage, the Province has funded 106 critical trade seats for cooks, chefs, bakers since the launch of B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint. The Province has also made the cook, chef and baker programs eligible under the B.C. Access Grant for Labour Market Priorities. This grant provides up to $16,400 in non-repayable grant and loan reduction funding.
The study provided recommendations for the food services industry to attract and retain workers. They include increasing the number of full-time positions as well as developing fixed schedules for part-time workers and improving compensation. Other suggestions for improvements include:
- The need to support small independent restaurants to improve business competitiveness.
- The need to address training requirements for ethnic cuisine.
- The need to promote improved life/work balance for kitchen staff to improve recruitment and retention of cooks and chefs.
- The need to broaden the appeal of kitchen occupations to new labour pools such as older workers with a passion for food.
- The need to increase consumers' awareness of restaurant operating costs and narrow margins.
The Sector Labour Market Partnerships (LMP) Program is funded through the Canada-British Columbia Labour Market Development Agreement. The program helps employers understand and respond to changing labour market demands, and ensures that training and education programs in B.C. are aligned with industry’s labour-market needs and priorities.
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour –
“Having relevant data gives us a much better understanding of the labour market challenges for sectors that need cooks and chefs. Armed with this information, it will allow industry partners to better respond to labour shortages and plan their workforce needs today and into the future.”
Arlene Keis, CEO, go2HR –
“We are very pleased with the amount of industry engagement and interest in this project. As the human resource association for the B.C. tourism and hospitality industry, part of our strategic focus is to help address acute labour shortages. This study gives us new insights into the different drivers behind the challenges B.C. employers are facing to hire and retain cooks and chefs. We look forward to sharing some best practices with the industry, and working together to ensure the profession continues to provide opportunities for long-term, successful careers.”
Sam Sullivan, MLA for Vancouver-False Creek –
“This Labour Market Analysis study is one more tool in the restaurant industry’s toolbox to be certain it has the right strategy in place to address its labour market shortages. This valuable information is key to address concerns now to keep the sector strong in the years to come.”
Grant Cousar, CEO, Whistler Cook Catering –
“In Whistler, my colleagues and I have been experiencing challenges in hiring and retaining professional cooks and chefs. The findings from this study provide the industry with an in-depth understanding of the profession, and will help us find solutions that will work for all employers who employ cooks and chefs in B.C.”
- Accommodation and food services is one of the top five employing industries in British Columbia.
- As of September 30th, 2016 there are:
- 2,653 active apprentices registered in Professional Cook Trades
- 580 Employer/Sponsors in Professional Cook Trades
- The Sector Labour Market Partnerships Program helps to ensure that training and education programs in B.C. are aligned with industry’s labour market needs and priorities.
- Sectors currently working on Sector LMP projects include: tourism, manufacturing, construction, technology and the green economy, as well as projects that relate to the labour market participation of Aboriginal peoples.
- The BC Jobs Plan builds on the strengths of our key sectors and our educated and skilled workforce, keeping our province diverse, strong and growing.
The complete Labour Market Analysis study can be found here: https://www.go2hr.ca/cookstudy
BC Jobs Plan Four Year Update: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/economy/progress-reports/
Gaining the Edge Tourism Strategy: http://www.jtst.gov.bc.ca/tourismstrategy/documents/GainingTheEdge_2015_2018.pdf
BC Jobs Plan, Plan Sector, Tourism: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan/economy/tourism/
WorkBC Sector Labour Market Partnerships Program: https://www.workbc.ca/Employer-Resources/Funding-and-Programs/Sector-Labour-Market-Partnerships.aspx
Employment and Social Development Canada, Labour Market Development Agreements: http://www.edsc.gc.ca/eng/jobs/training_agreements/lmda/index.shtml
BC 2024 Labour Market Outlook: https://www.workbc.ca/Statistics/Labour-Market.aspx
Industry Training Authority: www.itabc.ca
B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint: www.workbc.ca/skills