Today the Globe and Mail pegged the Forest Products Industry as one of the promising sectors in the country for young Canadians looking for a prosperous career.
The Forest Products Association says they need to find 60,000 new employees across Canada in the next five years to keep pace with industry growth which has been spurred onward by a lower Canadian Dollar.
Vice President of PR Susan Murray says the sector is undergoing a transformation
“And getting into new areas, very interesting biological areas where forest products are found in things like clothing and car parts. So we need people who are very educated, technical, engineers or whatever to help us innovate.”
She says the industry’s biggest challenge is overcoming the “lumberjack” stereotype, and that the sector is becoming very diverse.
“Very few jobs now need the brawn. We need brains. We need people with computer skills, even out in the forest we are using drones and very high tech equipment. So I think part of our job, is that we have to tell people; this is a modern industry.”
Retirement is also driving a need to replace baby boomers leaving the workforce, and companies are now faced with attracting a generation that has a different set of values than many leaving the sector.
Murray says initiatives such thegreenestworkforce.ca are trying to sell a lifestyle to milenials rather than just a career. The website focuses on the difference a person can make in the industry and lower cost of living in many forestry towns.
“So people can feel good about working in the forest products industry in Canada. Particularly in issues such as climate change, we know that trees sequester carbon and we are a part of the solution rather than part of the problem.”
The $58-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada’s GDP and provides 230,000 direct jobs across the country.