Vancouver Cheap City

I want you to all ponder this article I found over at Business BC. It says that Vancouver Companies are among the stingiest when it comes to compensation, no matter what the level of employee you are. This ultimately holds back the economy, since businesses either cannot or will not foot the bill for the kind of talent that would make the city a world business hub. Due to the exploitive nature of BC’s, business culture, such a change is unlikely to happen.

This is a very interesting analysis of BC’s economy. Poverty advocates and the NDP often cloud the issue with emotions and violins playing in the background. Here you have people with options and no time to make a fuss actually avoiding BC because wages are tooo low.

The author of the article makes some educated guesses over why Vancouver companies are so stingy. Our economy was built on exploiting the land, and our treatment of labour is just an extension of that thinking. What’s more, companies leverage the province’s gorgeous vistas against actually paying money for work.

I wonder if it is that simple. Do managers really want the cheapest work available, or do workers bid low for the opportunity to live in Lotus land? Does the way companies spend money play into it? If you look around BC’s IT and software industry, you find a lot of branch divisions and not too many head offices. How are you supposed to pay $100k for a programmer when corporate only lets you use $70K?

It’s tough to get inside the heads of BC’s business leaders. Most of them don’t blog, and there is no way you are going to see a manager walking around with a sandwich board saying “Johnson was late 3 times this week. Fair wages for Fair hours!”

If we want to make something of BC’s economy, we need to cut through the rhetoric and ask hard questions about “the way things are” in business. It’s not enough to just say “make a change”. Legislation isn’t going to help either. The low wages are just the end symptom of a series of bad business decisions. If we don’t know what those decisions are, then companies will just keep repeating them.