The Construction Sector Council (CSC) predicts demand for construction workers will remain high in BC through to 2009, contributing to a record low unemployment rate in the province. The CSC expects 2009 to be the peak in building activity in the province, after which the pattern of strong employment growth will slow down.
Construction Sector Growth Projected
According to the CSC, employment in BC’s construction industry is expected to grow from 1.8 to 2.4 percent annually over the next five years. The 2010 to 2014 period will see employment growth taper to 0.9 percent per year. This employment growth will exceed projected growth in labour supply, which is expected to grow at an average rate of between 1.2 and 1.7 percent to 2010. This gap will narrow as the pace of economic growth slows after 2010.
From 2005 to 2009 the CSC projects the demand for BC trades workers to grow by 25,330 jobs, followed by a decline in employment in the 2010 to 2014 period of 15,824 jobs. On the whole, roughly 9,500 jobs in the trades will be created, or 10 percent growth over the 2004 to 2014 decade.
The CSC also estimates that the annual number of people retiring from the labour force in the province will increase from 34,000 in 2005 to more than 45,000 by 2014. In order to fill the spots left empty by retirements and those created by the growing construction sector, upwards of 29,000 new workers will be needed to fill construction-related occupations between 2005 and 2009.
Construction Industry Labour Shortages
The construction industry will experience labour shortages due to changing demographics. As a result, firms will need to consciously address labour supply issues. For individual firms small and large, recruitment will become a major task, as will attracting new workers to the industry. More significantly, firms will have to find ways to retain the skilled and experienced workers they already have, as these workers will be the most effective way they can ensure their firm’s productivity.
Because construction work is very place-specific, and shipping work abroad is not possible the way it is in other industries, attracting workers from distant locations will be a priority for construction firms.
Opportunities for Everyone in Construction
Firms will need to look to non-traditional labour supplies for the construction industry— new Canadians, youth, women, First Nations, post-retirement seniors, individuals with disabilities and others who have not found it easy to enter into the construction sector.
From: Changing Dimensions of British Columbia’s Labour Market, Implications for the Construction Industry