Employment steady at top Surrey businesses during pandemic

The City of Surrey’s biggest businesses have been able to survive and keep employment levels stable during the pandemic.

Over the past year, average B.C. employment at the top 20 companies in the city fell only 0.2% to 2,875.6 employees in 2021 from 2,882.4 in 2020, according to data collected on BIV’s biggest businesses in Surrey list (page 12).

While their employment stagnated in 2021, the pandemic failed to reverse the longer-term growth success of Surrey’s largest businesses. Over the past five years, average employment at Surrey’s top businesses grew 16.1% from 2,475.9 in 2017.

During the same period, the median number of employees grew 25.7% to 667 employees in 2021 from 530.5 in 2017. This suggests that smaller firms lower on the list grew more over the past five years than larger companies higher on the list.

While the median growth over five years was impressive, the decline in median employment over this past year was greater than that of average employment. It dropped 3.6% from 692 in 2020.

No. 10 Mainroad Group had the largest one-year employment growth among the top 20. Its B.C. staff total increased by 42.9% to 860 employees in 2021 from 602 in 2020.

No. 13 Black Press Group recorded the largest one-year employment decline with a 13.6% drop to 598 employees in 2021 from 692 in 2020.

The Fraser Health Authority had the largest five-year growth among the top five companies with five years of data available. Its employment increased by 20% to 30,000 in 2021 from 25,000 in 2017.