Labour Force

Our well-educated, skilled and flexible workforce of more than 2.6 million is one of British Columbia’s greatest resources.

This dynamic labour force is growing to meet the needs of rapidly expanding industries such as technology.

Below are some of the statistical highlights for the whole of British Columbia's labour force, for a more in-depth look, visit our British Columbia profile page.

Skilled Workers

British Columbia’s diverse, skilled and adaptable workforce is an asset for employers. Our cosmopolitan cities, temperate climate and clean environment make it easier to recruit and retain top performers.

  • Our workforce is highly educated, with more than 60 per cent having taken post-secondary education and well over one quarter possessing a university degree.
  • Our workforce is flexible, with more than 80 per cent employed in service industries, including one quarter in professional, educational and business support services.
  • Our workforce is multi-lingual – more than 400,000 British Columbia workers have one of the Chinese dialects as their first language. Another 139,000 have Punjabi as their first language and 52,000 speak Korean.

Quality of Life

British Columbia’s quality of life attracts and retains highly skilled workers.

  • The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), an affiliate of the Economist, consistently ranks Vancouver as one of the most liveable cities in the world. The city is also consistently rated a top destination for travellers.
  • The Mercer Human Resource Consulting group’s 2019 Quality of Living Survey ranked Vancouver third out of 231 cities worldwide and first in North America.

Learn more about our world-class quality of life.


Immigration to B.C.

Immigration is a key source of talent for British Columbia. Our expanding economy, supportive government programs and outstanding quality of life make us a global magnet for the talent you need for business success.

  • The BC Provincial Nominee Program is a way for high-demand foreign workers and experienced entrepreneurs to gain permanent residency in B.C. The Skills Immigration and Express Entry BC streams support B.C. employers to attract and retain talent by providing an immigration pathway for skilled and semi-skilled workers.

Labour Force

Unemployment Rate 6.6%
Labour Force Participation Rate 64.5%
Source: Statistics Canada Census - 2016