Restaurants are looking for kitchen help. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

Labour shortage in Maple Ridge, as unemployment rate plunges

Rate this year a percentage point lower than last

B.C. businesses are begging for workers, judging by the latest employment numbers from B.C. Stats.

The latest numbers show there’s been a drop of just more than one per cent, when numbers from this November are compared to the same month a year ago. A year ago, B.C. had an unemployment rate of 5.9 per cent.

This year, that number sits at 4.7 per cent.

Help wanted signs are visible in stores around town, but it’s not a case of all businesses begging for workers because it’s a complex issue, says Maple Ridge’s economic development manager Lino Siracusa.

For instance, an employee at Maclean Brothers Drywall said they don’t have difficulty filling staffing openings.

“Depending on the type of jobs you’re talking about, there is a labour shortage,” said Siracusa.

Generally, there’s a shortage of technical and skilled workers across all sectors. But even some low-skilled service jobs, such as restaurant kitchen staff are going unfilled.

Employers as a result have to be creative in how they hire, perhaps by offering on-the-job training, Siracusa added.

“Employers that are creative, will find the labour.”

For Kal Tire, with stores around B.C., finding enough people is a constant challenge.

“Overall, certainly we have felt the crunch of the labour shortage, definitely in the Lower Mainland,” said Emily Phair, manager of recruitment.

Phair added that there’s a lot of competition for retail space in Metro Vancouver, plus the high cost of living or housing makes it difficult to hire people, or convince them to move to the area.

“We felt it big time,” said Phair.

“All across the board, our recruiters, even in the Interior, but more in the Lower Mainland, struggled this year. And the repetitive response from candidates … was the cost of living.”

Steve Robinson, owner of Pitt Meadows Plumbing, says that employee retention and attraction is the biggest issue they face. But even finding enough space to manufacture is a challenge.

The help wanted signs are everywhere in the hospitality business from online to storefronts with businesses seeking kitchen assistants, baristas, servers and delivery drivers.

On the indeed.com job search site, Domino’s Pizza in Maple Ridge, has immediate openings for delivery drivers, while Jim’s Pizza posts for a delivery driver and kitchen help in the downtown.

At Green House Bistro and Cafe, Mehdi Habibzadeh is looking for help in the kitchen and another food server. He finds when people get hired that they don’t always want to put in the hours or they’re not available for shifts.

“It’s hard to find the right people.”

He employs seven waitresses, but some are going back to school. Waitresses make $10.10 an hour, plus tips, which brings wage up to between $14 to $15 an hour. Kitchen staff earn $11.35 an hour, plus tips.

The B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association has addressed the labour shortage issue with a six-month study and presents its findings at an industry town hall in Vancouver on Jan. 16.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Winter Family Fun Fair a joy for all

Maple Ridge Public library hosted literacy event featured 27 exhibitors

Untrending: Who wants to be perceived as ruthless, pushy, or striving?

A closer look at how to set and achieve goals.

Famous skateboard residence goes up for sale in Maple Ridge

Kyle Dion’s house on Stoney Avenue has a backyard feature few others can boast

Maple Ridge sprinter earns track scholarship to TWU

Alina Olson broke the MRSS record in the 100 m dash last season

Being Young: A strange little concept called hope

One generation consistently cries out to the others, ‘you have it easier than me.’

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

Surrey tells Uber to cease operations in city, but company ‘respectfully’ declines

Ridesharing company told to stop operating within the city by 9 p.m. Jan. 24

Coronavirus concerns cause cancellation of Langley Lunar New Year celebration

Close to 1,000 were expected to attend the annual Live In Langley event on Saturday

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

Most Read