For Immediate Release
June 17, 2021
VANCOUVER, B.C. —Today, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade is releasing the results of a member survey conducted by Mustel Group to assess the status of the business community's pandemic recovery.
With the arrival of Step 2 of B.C.'s Restart Plan, positive momentum is building across Greater Vancouver with 64% of businesses feeling optimistic about their business projects this year compared to 24% who are negative or 12% neutral.
Businesses tend to believe the B.C. Restart Plan is on the right track in addressing the reopening of the provincial economy (59% right track, 21% wrong track, 20% unsure), but for 38% of businesses, the B.C. Restart Plan does not provide enough clarity for the upcoming months. Another 20% are unsure.
Notably, 31% of businesses are concerned about government support programs being phased out in the fall, 33% expect to lay off staff or reduce staff hours, and 26% expect to take on debt or loans. Further complicating recovery efforts, the struggle to find qualified applicants for job openings continues. A full 49% of respondents reported difficulty filling roles, and 48% said they anticipate problems going forward.
"This survey clearly illustrates that existing issues impacting the B.C. business community have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic," said Greater Vancouver Board of Trade President and CEO Bridgitte Anderson. "We need to redouble our efforts to attract talent to the Lower Mainland and provide certainty to the businesses worried about the impact of rolling back pandemic relief support programs."
In good news, half (51%) of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade members surveyed are continuing to make investments and implement processes and initiatives to address environmental, social and governance factors that will make them more globally competitive. Going forward, roughly the same number (53%) said they plan to implement or invest more in ESG measures.
Other notable findings include:
- The primary factor impacting businesses' ability to grow (61%) was "COVID-19 and related restrictions" with "finding new customers / revenue" (44%) and "ability to hire qualified staff" (42%) rounding out the top three
- The survey also showed approximately half (54%) of respondents that typically work from offices anticipate their office space requirements will decrease after the pandemic and, among those who used transit, three-in-ten (29%) are unlikely to use transit like they did before the pandemic.
- Eight-in-ten (79%) respondents reported that they expect business to improve, and three-in-ten (30%) said they expect it to improve "significantly" over the next 12 months.
"It is encouraging that businesses are optimistic their performance will improve in the coming year. However, the survey indicates it may take some time for the downtown core to fully revitalize," said Mustel Group President Evi Mustel. "With half of businesses expecting their office space requirements to decrease, and employees expecting to still work at home at least a few days a week, along with some reluctance to use public transit, it may take some time for the downtown core to fully recover, even with new high-tech tenants coming onboard."
About the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade:
Since its inception in 1887, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has been recognized as Pacific Canada’s leading business association, engaging members to impact public policy at all levels of government and to succeed and prosper in the global economy. With a Membership whose employees comprise one-third of B.C.’s workforce, we are the largest business association between Victoria and Toronto. We leverage this collective strength, facilitating networking opportunities, and providing professional development through four unique Signature Programs. In addition, we operate one of the largest events programs in the country, providing a platform for national and international thought leaders to enlighten B.C.’s business leaders.
About Mustel Group:
The Mustel Group is a team of collaborative experts delivering customized market research solutions for clients in both the public and private sectors. We have helped organizations maximize their potential for over 25 years.
About the survey:
A total of 175 members of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade completed the survey from June 7-11, 2021. The margin of error is +/-7% at the 95% level of confidence.