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City business survey gets favourable response

Most of the 47 businesses surveyed in the city’s 2018 Business Insights Report say Prince George is a good place to operate.

“These surveys are conducted every two years and are a means to identify key indicators of the challenges and opportunities businesses are facing,” said Manager of Economic Development, Melissa Barcellos. “Eighty-seven percent of businesses said that they think Prince George was a good or excellent place to do business, which is a strong endorsement for the local business climate. Eighty percent of businesses said that they thought the business climate was better today than five years ago, and 77 per cent said they believed the business climate would be even better five years from now, which indicates confidence in the economy and market conditions.”

The biggest challenge and potential barrier to expansion identified by the report was access to qualified labour. Many companies indicated that the number of unfilled positions was stable, however a significantly greater number in 2018 indicated they are having more trouble filling positions.

Other highlights of the report:

  • More than half of companies interviewed indicated that they have increased employment levels over the past three years – 22 percent higher than in 2016.
  • Two-thirds of companies said they expect an increase in full-time staff over the next three years.
  • Nearly 60 percent of companies reported that they have unfilled positions.
  • Nearly two-thirds of companies said that they were aware of trends, technologies, or other changes in their industry that will require new skills. Examples of these skills include virtual reality, social media, artificial intelligence, robotics, and smart technologies.
  • More than two-thirds of companies are anticipating their sales will increase over the next year.
  • Three-quarters of companies said that the market for their product or service was increasing.  Half of the companies identified growth in the local market, one third named the regional or BC market, while ten percent named opportunities in the Canadian or US market.
  • Most companies (64 per cent) said that their market share was increasing – a marked difference from 2016 when only six percent of companies indicated this.
  • One-third of businesses are planning to expand in the next three years. All of those companies said that they would be expanding in Prince George, and most said that their current site was not adequate for expansion.