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Economic, Labour

Saskatchewan construction employment in a state of flux

JOC News Service
Saskatchewan construction employment in a state of flux

OTTAWA — The construction employment outlook in Saskatchewan is showing a slowing pace ahead of new opportunities.

“The Saskatchewan construction industry has seen significant expansion over the past decade, with overall employment levels more than doubling between 2002 and the 2014 peak,” states BuildForce Canada’s recently released 2018–2027 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast. “However, the collapse in oil and gas and commodity prices led to declines to 2016, but employment levels stabilized in 2017.”

The construction industry in the province is transitioning from a market dominated by large engineering projects to one characterized by long-term residential and ICI building construction that is required to meet the demands of a young and growing population, the forecast indicates.

As in many other provinces across the country, meeting future demand requirements will likely be more difficult due to the aging construction workforce and the need to replace a large number of workers who will be lost to retirement.

The forecast indicates 9,300 workers are expected to retire in the next decade, and based on historical trends, Saskatchewan’s construction industry should be able to draw 10,100 of the required replacement workers from an anticipated pool of locally available new entrant workers.

“Overall, employment demands are expected to only increase by 1,300 jobs over the decade, leaving the industry in Saskatchewan in the unique position of meeting future employment needs almost exclusively from available provincial labour,” states the report.

As for the next decade, the report says, “uncertainty surrounding commodity prices continues to impede near-term major project investment, leading engineering construction employment lower through 2021. New planned mining projects are anticipated to raise demand between 2022 and 2024, but much depends on the timing of proposed major projects.”

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