The findings of a new industry-wide survey released by the BC Construction Association (BCCA) highlight the employment opportunities in the booming construction sector.
B.C.’s construction industry continues to be the No. 1 employer in B.C.’s goods sector, with more than 219,500 people relying directly on construction for a paycheque. That’s down three per cent since 2017, but still makes up eight per cent of the total workforce. It’s estimated there will be more than 11,000 B.C. construction jobs unfilled due to labour shortages by 2030
Over the course of this pandemic year the top issues of concern to construction contractors shifted somewhat, although availability of skilled workforce remains the top challenge regardless of labour affiliation. The chronic lack of prompt payment jumped from third to second place and worries about safety climbed into the No. 3 spot this year.
“Our industry has been through a lot this past year, but amidst the challenges we can see that our workforce is getting more diverse, which will help our skilled labour shortage” says Chris Atchison, BCCA president. “The BC Budget 2021 has raised concerns for our contractors, who were anticipating more fulsome investments in infrastructure to offset extraordinary cost increases, and we continue to highlight the urgency of prompt payment legislation to alleviate the burden of late payments on competed work.”
The BCCA survey results show an increasingly diverse workforce, where workers’ overall satisfaction as measured by their likelihood to recommend construction careers to friends and family rose 118 per cent from the prior year. Part of that increase can be attributed to financial health, with 18 per cent of workers reporting improvements. The average annual wage sits at $63,168, with total earnings for the sector reaching $13.9 billion.
Women are showing increasing gains in this traditionally male industry (females make up 6.2 per cent of the workforce), with 65 per cent of female respondents reporting an increase in income and 53 per cent reporting that they changed jobs for more pay over the past year.
Despite the pandemic, 35 per cent of employers reported an increase in the size of their workforce, which is less of a gain than prior years but still significant. More than half of employer respondents say they’re offering more hours this year, and 90 per cent are paying overtime wages. The estimated value of major construction projects currently underway in B.C. is $120 billion, with another $221 billion in proposed B.C. projects.
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