LETTER: Higher education not a valued requirement

A mass exodus of our educated youth to other municipalities in search of meaningful employment

Re: “Highest Level of Workers Without a Diploma” article by Kevin Mills, published July 9, Abbotsford News.

As the general manager of the BC employment website InTheWorx.ca, I feel a professional need to respond to this article regarding the employment situation in Abbotsford.

There is nothing more crippling to one’s job search in Abbotsford than being formally educated. Surrey, Langley, Chilliwack and all points beyond value educational credentials but inexplicably Abbotsford businesses prefer to hire lesser educated candidates. It is sad to know that to improve one’s chances of gaining employment in Abbotsford requires job seekers to strip their resumes of hard-earned academic credentials.

Oddly, Abbotsford businesses do not place an emphasis on hiring employees who reside within the V2T postal code. An educated guess is that roughly half of the people who work in Abbotsford actually live here, with the increased likelihood that the “better” positions are generally occupied by non-Abbotsfordians.

Then there is the issue of remuneration offered in Abbotsford verses other jurisdictions – so much so, that recruiting agencies generally dislike dealing with Abbotsford businesses. One recruiter I spoke with recently lamented about having to convince one business owner than no, there was no possibility of filling the requested position at $10 per hour as minimum wage was $10.25 per hour and the market value of the position itself was deemed to be $15 per hour. Managing an employment website, I literally have “front row seats” to this particular gong show and can cite numerous examples of Abbotsford job postings that are nothing short of offensive. One particular favourite of mine was an advert for a position requiring a Bachelor of Business Administration with a compensation range of $12 to $14 per hour; comparatively, forklift operators earn more than that.

Given the above points, it is then of little mystery why the National Household Survey found the Abbotsford-Mission CMA to be at the bottom of the list insofar as having an educated populous. This would also be a major contributing factor to the mass exodus of our educated youth to other municipalities in search of meaningful employment as they have little chance of being employed locally once they leave the graduation stage. On a similar note, given the average individual annual income verses the average cost of home ownership in Abbotsford, it would take three typical working adults to hold a mortgage.

I do not know if this information is as disturbing to the general population as it is in the employment industry, despite its socio-economic impact to the overall community of Abbotsford. Obviously, the problem is far too complex to address in a simple letter-to-the-editor but I can assure you that it is of notable significance.  I can offer no professional suggestions as to how to remedy the situation and if I did, I would likely have to go to Langley or Surrey to voice them as I, too, have been post-secondary educated.

Karen-Ann Daleman

Abbotsford

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