Why Tradespeople Should Work in the Okanagan

Why Tradesmen Should Work in the Okanagan  
August 12, 2021

Kelowna and neighbouring towns are in hypergrowth mode, meaning there is a large pool of job postings for carpenters, labourers and other skilled trades. More specifically, the region’s rapid expansion has led residential home builders to struggle to hire sufficient workers for projects. On a CHBA-CO survey, 70% of members are hiring in the upcoming months.

According to a Statistics Canada report, the Central Okanagan is the fastest growing area in BC. The region’s growth provides countless opportunities for anyone looking to call the Okanagan home.  With no shortage of jobs in the Okanagan, builders are looking to fill positions as quickly as possible. Employers are hiring candidates with experience in different trades and even applicants new to the industry for entry-level positions.

Click here to see what local businesses in the Okanagan are hiring.

This also means that there is the opportunity to get additional exposure to challenging projects, to learn new skills and grow long-term with a company.

Marty Berman from Amber Millwork Ltd. said that “Sometimes it is easier to hire inexperienced people and train them rather than send them to school. Our workshop is made to train and teach people, and it is more cost-effective.” Many builders seek to hire inexperienced workers to train in their workshops because they can teach skills to their liking and build relationships with staff members.

To assess the idea of relocating or moving to the Okanagan, here are some things for you to consider.


  • Cheaper than other Canadian metropolitan cities.

Although housing prices are climbing across Canada, the price of living is lower in the Okanagan than in metropolitan cities such as Toronto and Vancouver.  The median price of a new home in Kelowna is $912,500, compared to $1,135,833 in Toronto and $1,734,167 in Vancouver.

  • Better weather.

With blue sky summers and mild winters, the Okanagan boasts of its four-season mentality. Kelowna’s average annual precipitation level is 345 mm, compared to 831 mm in Toronto and 1457 mm in Vancouver.

  • Outdoor Living.

There are various outdoor activities such as visiting wineries, hiking, swimming, gardening, golf, swimming, boating, and cycling. The list of things to do is endless!

  • Entrepreneurs dream.

Have you ever thought about running your own business? For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, the Okanagan offers lower barriers to entry and less competition. In 2018, Kelowna was named the best city to open a small business by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.


  • Growing pains.

There are growing pains such as constant construction, road work, and changes.  A growing region means less infrastructure. But if you’ve driven on the 400 series or experienced gridlock in downtown Calgary, you’ll still be ahead.

  • Sunshine tax.

It is commonly cited that people living in Kelowna typically get paid less or have a higher price of living in exchange for the scenery and weather. Salaries may be 20-30% lower for Okanagan Interior-based companies than Lower Mainland-based companies.  This also likely leads to our high levels of entrepreneurship. It should also be noted with recent increases to the cost of living that wages appear to be on the rise.

  • Wildfires.

While all regions have weather concerns due to climate change, the Okanagan is primarily at risk due to forest fires. A bad fire season for residents typically starts in late July and can carry through August, though the last two years have seen minimal fires.

Why Tradesmen Should Work in the Okanagan  

How do I move to the Okanagan?

If you are relocating or moving to the Okanagan valley, you may encounter a few speed bumps along the way regarding finding housing and employment. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

Apply Using Regional Job Boards 

Regional job boards may require additional steps to submit an application, such as creating a profile and uploading a different resume. Still, employers that post on job boards typically offer better wages, benefits and organizational culture. In a survey conducted by the CHBA-CO, member companies offered wages 10% higher than non-members.

To look for jobs in the Okanagan, click here to use the CHBA-CO job board.

Commute from Outer Areas 

As housing prices in cities like Kelowna continue to rise, many residents have been able to find more affordable options in smaller towns minutes away from Kelowna’s city center. When looking for places to live, consider looking in Vernon, Armstrong, Lake Country, and Peachland. Compared to other major North American cities, Kelowna’s average daily commute is the shortest, at just over 15 minutes.

Make Connections 

When searching for a new job candidate, 70 % of employers will use word of mouth rather than traditional methods such as Indeed, Kijiji, Facebook and other online hiring platforms. Although builders are always looking to grow their company, many do not have time to upload a job posting and go through a lengthy application process. So if there is a company that you would like to work for, reach out to them and let them know you are interested in joining their team!

You could also meet others in the local building industry by attending a CHBA-CO event. Click here to see the list of upcoming events.

Get Educated

Experienced and certified carpenters will have an advantage in finding work. Changes in home building requirements towards energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, and sustainable technologies will affect future skills and experience requirements for employment.

The CHBA-CO offers education towards completion of Continuing Professional Development points. For more information, click here.

Want to know more or have any other questions about the Okanagan? Contact us!