How to keep millennials in Vancouver? Video contest searches for answers

A competition hosted by The Vancouver Board of Trade tried to get to the bottom of why some millennials are thinking of leaving Vancouver.

Provide incentives for small businesses to hire new graduates, says winning team

A video competition tried to answer the question of how to attract millennials to Vancouver, and keep them here. (Getty Images)

What must Vancouver do to stop what some people describe as the "mass exodus' of millennials? 

A competition hosted by the Vancouver Board of Trade tried to get to the bottom of that question by holding a video contest. 

Incentives to hire millennials

According to the winning team, the answer lies in providing incentives to businesses to hire new graduates. 

"It's extremely expensive to hire new staff and train new staff," said Brendan Lal, who was part of the winning team that beat out 12 other teams. 

Lal would like to see more government incentives for small businesses to hire new graduates and millennials. 

He suggested providing tax breaks to companies that hire young workers or for governments to subsidize wages of young workers who work at small businesses. 

Another possible solution Lal's team looked into was the deferral of student loans. In Saskatchewan, for example, breaks are given on student loans to people who stay to work in the province after graduation. 

Better work incentives

Another team interviewed 100 millennials and found the answer lies in better work incentives. 

"Vancouver can't compete on salary," said Po On Yeung, whose team won the People's Choice Award. "Toronto and San Francisco pay more."

"Our idea was, what if businesses could offer more flexible benefits so that millennials could find cost savings elsewhere?" Yeung said. 

Examples include transportation credits or flexibility to work from home. 

"We decided to focus on giving people more of what they thought were the benefits of Vancouver, so more time to enjoy the natural beauty," she said. 

This could be done through paid sabbaticals, time banks to earn extra days off, shared access to vehicles for employees to explore and shared workspaces outside, Yeung said. 

The teams each produced a three-minute video and the competition was open to the board's young professionals chapter.

With files from the CBC's The Early Edition and Samantha Garvey. 

To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: How to keep millennials in Vancouver? Video contest searches for answers