The B.C. technology sector is a major engine of economic growth in B.C.
The most recent BC Stats profile of the sector shows the immense and growing impact this sector is having on B.C.’s job growth and GDP.
IN 2015, THE TECH SECTOR:
- Reached over 100,000 jobs for the first time (101,7801) at 9,905 companies.
- Had wages 75 per cent higher than the B.C. industrial average, with average weekly earnings of $1,590.2
- Had the fifth consecutive year of growth in employment.3
- Employed around 4.9 per cent of British Columbia’s workforce – more than the mining, oil and gas, and forestry sectors combined.4
- Generated approximately seven per cent of the province’s GDP.5
In 2016 , the first year of the strategy, early indicators show that employment grew to over 106,000 jobs – and that number is projected to continue growing.
B.C.’s dynamic young startups are the beginning of the great companies of the future, and government is dedicated to paving the way for them to grow.
A year ago, we committed to 50 actions to help keep the tech sector growing. These actions are setting the conditions for the growth we’ve seen in the last year. While we continue to complete and work through our commitments, we recognize that we can do more. In order to keep pace with the changing global economy, we have set a number of new initiatives in order to reach four aspirational goals:
- Job growth in the tech sector will remain above the provincial average and reach 120,000 by 2020.
- Investment in the B.C. tech sector will be increased by up to $100 million by 2020.
- B.C. will become a leader in the innovation economy by working to increase the talent pool by 1,000 grads per year by 2022, with increased grads throughout the province.
- Increase the number of tech companies with 10 or more employees by 20 per cent by 2021.
This renewed #BCTECH Strategy is built on our original three pillars – Talent, Capital and Markets – and we’re introducing a new pillar – Data.
Take a look at the new initiatives to help keep our tech sector growing:
For our B.C. Grads:
»» Our goal is to increase the number of tech grads by 1,000 per year by 2022
»» Expand work-integrated learning in existing programs
- Make the funding available to double the number of placements in the Innovator Skills Initiative
- Make the funding available to double the number of placements in the BC tech Co-op Grants program
- Increase the number of placements in the Mitacs program by two-thirds
»» Create B.C.’s new Innovation Network
»» Create the BC Science and Technology Research Chairs Program
For British Columbians who want to enter the tech workforce from another field or specialty:
»» Continue the Canada-BC Job Grant
»» Work with the First Nations Technology Council on their program Bridging to Technology
»» Work with the federal government to increase the number of skilled immigrants in B.C.’s tech sector
»» Pursue federal funding under the recently-announced clusters initiative
»» Expand the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit (IDMTC) and Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit
Selling to government
»» Create a Procurement Concierge Service
»» Establish an Innovative Ideas Fund
»» Pilot a Startup in Residence program
Selling to other jurisdictions
»» Expand B.C.’s Export Navigator pilot
»» Expand U.S. Trade and Investment Offices
»» Create a Centre for Data-Driven Innovation (CDDI) in B.C.
To read about these actions in the renewed strategy and about progress made, click here.
These actions will help the tech sector, and tech talent, to grow across all the tech subsectors, but they will also help other industries throughout the province because tech is a critical component of almost every other sector in B.C. by providing a foundation for innovation, efficiency and growth. For instance, the technology sector is supporting new innovation in B.C.’s resource sectors, resulting in productivity gains that continue to reinforce and grow our already diverse and vibrant economy. In fact, seven per cent of all forestry and logging jobs are considered tech occupations, and the number is twice that for mining.6
The technology industry affects B.C.’s bottom line directly, and it also indirectly affects the bottom line of every industry in this province. A thriving tech sector makes all industries more competitive through improvements in productivity, quality and safety. Technology is B.C.’s competitive advantage. Government will continue to consult with industry about the best next steps for growth, and, as we define new targets, the #BCTECH Strategy will adapt to capture opportunities and create growth throughout B.C. – rural and urban alike. Working together, we will continue to grow, strengthen and diversify our economy. Working together, we will continue to show Canada and the world that OUR OPPORTUNITY IS HERE.
To read the 6-month progress update, click here.
To read the first #BCTECH Strategy, click here.
1 BC Stats, Profile of the British Columbia High Technology Sector: 2016 Edition, (January 2017), p. 2
2 BC Stats, Profile of the British Columbia High Technology Sector: 2016 Edition, (January 2017), p. 2
3 BC Stats, Profile of the British Columbia High Technology Sector: 2016 Edition, (January 2017), p. 16
4 BC Stats, Profile of the British Columbia High Technology Sector: 2016 Edition, (January 2017), p. 2
5 BC Stats, Profile of the British Columbia High Technology Sector: 2016 Edition, (January 2017), p. 10
6 WorkBC, British Columbia 2025 Labour Market Outlook: Technology and Science Occupations Profile, (July 2016), p. 8