BC's tech sector brought in thousands of jobs last year, says study

Screenshot from "Regional Check-up 2016: Mainland/ Southwest development Region."

The economy of Southwest BC grew more than any other region of the province last year, due in large part to the growth of its tech sector, according to a new study.

The study, by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC), focused on the Southwest BC development region, which is comprised of the Greater Vancouver, Sunshine Coast, Squamish-Lillooet, and Fraser Valley Regional Districts.

Although B.C.’s tech sector is relatively small, mostly concentrated in Southwest B.C., it plays a significant role in the economy, generating approximately 6.5 per cent of the provincial GDP in the latest published estimates.

This is comparable with more traditional industries, such as mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction, and health care.

In 2015, employment in Southwest B.C.’s professional, scientific and technology industry grew by 7,400 jobs, while the information, culture and recreation technology industry expanded by 5,400 jobs.

These people working in these jobs are typically highly educated; over 72 per cent of them have at least a post-secondary certificate or diploma. 

“These workers are typically higher paid individuals with greater spending power," said CPABC president Richard Rees in a press release. "The average weekly earnings for workers in this sector were approximately 60 per cent higher than those of the average B.C. worker.”

BC's venture capital market was instrumental in the growth of the region's tech sector. In 2015, there were 86 venture capital deals completed in the province, with a total value of $450 million. This accounted for 20 per cent of all venture capital deals in Canada during this period.

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