All About Employment in Victoria, BC

A closer look at natural and applied sciences occupational sector

As mentioned in the last post the projected growth in these sectors (Agriculture, Forestry, Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction and Information, Recreation and Culture) is uneven with only two of the four promising positive growth in the years 2012-2022 (Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction and Information, Culture and Recreation 4.1% and 0.9% respectively for 13,100 and 5,000 jobs).

Many of the better paying jobs within these sectors fall into the STEM category (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) which I discovered when I was looking at the previous sector doesn’t seem to have any specialized funding for post-secondary education. Speaking anecdotally I will say that many of the people I know that are working in jobs that fall into these sectors are HIGHLY educated – if you want to advance to the top levels of the profession in the natural and applied sciences you are probably looking at a very lengthy educational investment – definitely to the PhD level and likely beyond to post doctoral work. Not for the faint of heart or thin of wallet. On the plus side – many of the programs in the Sciences will be co-op programs (at least at the University of Victoria) at both the undergraduate and graduate level giving you the chance to make some money to help defray tuition costs.

Big Employers in this Sector in Victoria …
There are some big employers run by the federal government in this sector in the Victoria area. There is the Pacific Forestry Centre which seems to have about 100 employees (going by their online directory) and the Institute of Ocean Sciences which the website states has more than 250 researchers and scientists. Presently the federal job board shows a number of job opportunities within the Department of Fisheries and the Coast Guard (but none at the Pacific Forestry Centre) – about half the jobs are for professionals (technicians, biologists) while others are for non-professionals (cooks, deckhands).

There will be jobs for instructors at Universities that offers degrees in these fields (biology, IT, natural resource extraction, forestry, agriculture) but, as a friend remarked when we were talking about academic tenure in the highly desirable living conditions of Victoria, don’t expect to see jobs come up frequently (he estimated about three per century!) and expect competition to be fierce. And of course to teach you are most likely going to need a PhD or beyond. Presently Uvic has a single posting that would fall within this category and Camosun and Royal Roads have none.

Finally, there are a variety of positions that fall into occupations in this sector available from the provincial government. At present there are several jobs open within forestry and the ministry of environment that fall into the ‘natural and applied sciences’ category.

As with the sector reviewed just previous to this one (social sciences, education, government services and religion) there are jobs that pay well and have the possibility of advancement available though they are not as plentiful as lower paying jobs. Also, competition for these types of jobs in academia will likely be fierce. Finally, you must be willing and able to make a very large up front investment in terms of time and money to get the necessary education to qualify to do these jobs. What do you think – do you work in this sector – is it satisfying? Do you feel that you got a fair return for the investment in your education? Let me know by leaving a comment below or sending an email to susan at yyjworks.com.

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