Record-breaking employment and wages benefit B.C. tech workers

Bruce Ralston

B.C.’S technology and innovation industry is providing people with more good-paying jobs and producing higher revenue than ever before, according to the latest BC Stats report on the sector.

“Our government supports the growth of B.C.’s tech sector, which is responsible for thousands of good-paying jobs for British Columbians, and this report confirms that,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, while touring Kabam Studios in downtown Vancouver. “The sector saw record levels of employment, revenue, wages and GDP in 2016, which is helping to build a strong and innovative economy that works for everyone.”

B.C.’s tech salaries continued to climb in 2016 for the sixth consecutive year, increasing 7.4% to just under $9.4 billion. This outpaced the average for all industries, which saw wages increase 4%. A tech sector employee’s wage is also much higher than the provincial average, with weekly earnings of $1,690, compared to the $920 per-week average across all industries.

“Employees working in our tech sector earn weekly average salaries almost 85% higher than the average wage in B.C., which is also higher than the Canadian tech sector’s average,” said Rick Glumac, Parliamentary Secretary for Technology. “These are skilled jobs that pay well and support a growing number of British Columbians throughout the province.”

Tech sector employment increased 4.1% in 2016, surpassing B.C.’s overall employment growth of 3% and national tech sector employment growth of 0.3%. The sector saw a 9.2% increase in revenue, producing approximately $29 billion in revenue in 2016.

“Seeing the new ideas and innovation being spun out of my community each day, it comes as no surprise that B.C. has yet again broken new tech sector records across the board,” said Raghwa Gopal, CEO, Accelerate Okanagan. “By continuing to work together, we can help B.C.’s tech entrepreneurs keep growing.”

The report is generated by comparing 2016 data with the tech sector’s previous performance and the performance of other regions and sectors in 2016. The continued growth in the number of technology jobs, companies, and wages demonstrates B.C. has the right conditions to attract technology talent, innovation and investment.

The sector is a strong exporter, particularly in the services area, where exports jumped 7.7% to $4.5 billion, growing the total value of B.C.’s high-tech exports to just over $5.8 billion. The Province is building on this strength by establishing a trade presence in San Francisco.

This week, Ralston officially opened a new trade and investment representative office in San Francisco, which gives B.C. businesses greater access to the U.S. market. It will attract investment to the province, while connecting B.C. companies with venture capitalists, skilled tech workers and strategic partners in the most vibrant tech market in the U.S.

Quick Facts:

  • The technology sector directly employs more than 106,000 people, and wages for those jobs are around 85% higher than B.C.’s average.
  • B.C. has seen a 3.3% rise in the number of new technology companies in 2016, growing to over 10,200 businesses.
  • Employment in the tech sector rose 4.1%, surpassing B.C.’s overall employment growth of 3.0% and national tech sector employment growth of 0.3%.
  • B.C. tech wages and salaries hit a new all-time high for the sixth consecutive year, climbing 7.4% to just under $9.4 billion.
  • The tech sector produced approximately $28.9 billion in revenue in 2016, a rise of 9.2% from 2015.
  • Revenue climbed in both the manufacturing and service sectors, growing 6.2% and 9.7% respectively.
  • The gross domestic product (GDP) of B.C.’s tech sector expanded 3.5% in 2016, contributing $14.6 billion to B.C.’s overall economic output.