VANCOUVER, B.C. – The BC Construction Association’s (BCCA) latest industry statistics package, highlights a vibrant construction sector with $115 billion in projects being built and another $206 billion in various stages of planning.
The stats also show that new construction companies are entering the industry, wages are up, and the anticipated job shortages are shrinking in the province.
The Fall 2019 Stat Pack indicates that overall, B.C.’s construction industry continues to be the top employer in B.C.’s goods sector, with more than 236,000 people depending directly on construction for a paycheque. This is an increase of 17 per cent since 2014. Construction jobs account for 9.2 per cent of the province’s total workforce – more than any other sector, including forestry, mining, agriculture, fishing, and manufacturing combined.
The abundance of work appears to be attracting more business creation. According to the BCCA, over the past year, 1,389 new construction companies were established in B.C., bringing the total to 25,736, up 17 per cent over the past 5 years. The past year has also seen the average annual employee compensation rise from $57,647 to $61,784.
“These numbers clearly show the importance of the construction sector to the provincial economy,” said Chris Atchison, president, BCCA, in a press release. “The continued growth of the construction sector in the face of challenges related to skilled workforce availability, prompt payment, business taxation, and disruptive labour policies, is a reflection of the hard work, collaborative approach, and perseverance of the construction companies, associations and organizations who understand this sector best.”
The statistics also show some encouraging signs the province’s long-feared labour crunch is being addressed. The 10-year projection of B.C. construction jobs that will be unﬁlled in 2028 due to labour shortages stands at 7,900 (BuildForce Canada: January 2019). That’s a 32.5 per cent reduction from the January 2018 projection of 11,700 construction jobs unfilled in 2027.
However, the BCCA noted that the reduction is due, in part, to the cancellation of large proposed projects. But the association added that progress on the labour shortage front is also being made through several construction sector initiatives aimed at attracting and retaining skilled labour, trades training (Trades Training Fund), improving worksite culture (Builders Code) and matching tradespeople to construction employment opportunities (STEP).