B.C.’s tech job force bigger than mining, oil and gas, forestry

British Columbia’s technology sector has broken an employment record with more than 101,000 people now working in its ranks.

Data Wednesday from the province show the tech sector — which employs about 20,000 in Greater Victoria — employs more people around B.C. than the mining, oil and gas, and forestry sectors combined.

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According to B.C. Stats’ Profile of the British Columbia Technology Sector: 2016 Edition, technology employs 101,700 who earn a weekly average salary of $1,590 — 75 per cent higher than the average wage in B.C. and higher than the Canadian technology sector average of $1,480 per week.

“For the fifth year in a row, B.C. has seen significant growth in its diverse technology industry. We have more technology companies than ever, with more technology workers earning higher wages than the Canadian average,” said Amrik Virk, minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services.

“Our strategy is further creating the conditions that are helping the sector continue to grow and thrive.”

B.C.’s tech sector, which has more than 9,900 companies, also leads the country in terms of job growth. Employment in the sector rose 2.9 per cent over the previous year, surpassing B.C.’s overall employment growth of 2.5 per cent and national tech-sector employment growth of 1.1 per cent.

Technology now employs about 4.9 per cent of B.C.’s workforce and is the third-largest tech workforce in Canada.

The gross domestic product of the province’s tech sector grew by 2.4 per cent in 2015, contributing $14.1 billion to B.C.’s overall economic output. At the same time tech revenue increased five per cent to a record $26.3 billion.

“I think it is wonderful news and a long time in the making,” said Victoria tech veteran Eric Jordan, CEO of Codename Entertainment. “This didn’t happen overnight, but is the result of decades of effort from many people and organizations in our community.”

Jordan said Victoria’s tech community has a lot going for it. “Victoria continues to be a great place to build technology companies, including video-game companies. We are large enough to have a variety of critical supports, such as educational institutions like UVic and Camosun, as well as easy access to key hubs such as Vancouver, Seattle, Toronto and San Francisco,” he said.

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