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B.C. skilled workers coming home: 2016 Construction Industry Survey


February 23, 2016
By Renée Francoeur

February 23, 2016 – Strong activity in British Columbia’s construction industry is drawing skilled workers back to the province from Alberta and more young people are entering the trades, according to the 2016 Construction Industry Survey released today by the BC Construction Association, in partnership with Progressive Contractors Association and Construction Labour Relations.

The survey found that 45% of employers hired a worker last year that came directly from working in Alberta’s oil and gas sector. The number of youth going directly into the construction trades from high school is up 15% since 2014.

“The record number of construction projects now underway and the outlook for sustainable growth is drawing British Columbians back home,” said BCCA president Manley McLachlan. “The message is starting to sink in with youth and their parents that a career in the trades is a great choice. This is helping B.C. employers succeed in a very mobile and highly competitive labour market, but there is much more work to do to fill the skills gap.”

While key economic data in the 2016 survey confirm a healthy and expanding sector, the report says storm clouds continue to loom on the horizon for B.C.’s $8.1 billion construction sector. Two-thirds of workers in skilled trades are now over the age of 45, the survey reads, and in their wake there are not enough new people entering the field. These demographic trends and a projected increase in construction activity are forecast to create a 15,000 worker shortfall.

The 2016 survey also provides the most complete picture to date of trade wages and salaries in B.C.’s construction sector. Some key findings include:
 
• 94% of B.C. construction employers say they are planning to hire in 2016 and that these will be predominantly fulltime, year-round jobs.
• 50% of employer respondents reported offering higher wages than 2015.
• 88% of entry-level workers are happy with their wages.
• 44% of apprentices received a raise in 2015.
• $56,170 is the average annual salary of a B.C. construction industry worker.

Read the full survey at www.bccassn.com.