February 2020 – First Mover

With a mission to inform, empower, celebrate and advocate for British Columbia's current and aspiring business leaders, BCBusiness go behind the headlines and bring readers face to face with the key issues and people driving business in B.C.

Issue link: http://digital.canadawide.com/i/1199442

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Page 45 of 79

LINDSAY SIU; SOURCE: ABACUS DATA AND THE BC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE "It's my dream that Vancouver becomes the Silicon Valley of pre- mium apparel and gear. The outcome will be a thriving and sustainable economy" –Mark Anderson, director of engineering and quality, Mustang Survival 46 BCBUSINESS FEBRUARY 2020 IN ITS 2019 MEMBER SURVEY, THE BC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ASKED SOME 1,500 BUSINESS LEADERS ACROSS THE PROVINCE HOW BIG A CHALLENGE THEY FACE TO RECRUIT AND RETAIN EMPLOYEES. ALMOST HALF SAID IT WAS THEIR MOST DIFFICULT OR A MAJOR CHALLENGE Hard Labour 14% Most difficult challenge 36% Minor 36% Minor 35% Major challenge 17% Not a challenge TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES Even clothing icon Chip Wilson has trouble finding workers in B.C. audience. To produce more, he spear- headed the creation of the Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic Univer- sity's Richmond campus in 2018, donating $8 million to the $36-million project. A series of studies over the past four years by the BC Apparel Sector Labour Market Partnership ( LMP), a collaboration between the industry and the provincial and federal governments, found that the sector has experienced significant growth since 2010 and projects that by 2025 it will support 11,350 jobs, 48.5 per- cent more than in 2016. There are already shortages in positions from executives to designers and, especially, sewers. Apparel is the fourth-largest manufac- turing subsector in B.C., with 84 percent of businesses located in the Mainland/ Southwest region, according to a 2016 LMP report. The new association is the first step toward creating a superclu- ster for apparel and gear brands. At the launch meeting, Mark Anderson, direc- tor of engineering and quality at marine gear maker Mustang Survival in Burnaby and a BCAG board member, explained that the association's purpose is to "bring the professionals together to have conversations on a regular basis about trends, hot topics, issues they're facing." The big one is talent. A recent BCAG study showed that there were 1,200 open positions in the industry, and Anderson estimated some 5,000 will need to be filled in the next five years to keep up with growth rates. "What all of that is causing is the merry-go-round effect," he observed. "It's kind of neat because we get to know each other, because people are moving around from all these differ- ent companies. It's terrible for onboard- ing, training costs."

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