STATS: BC Construction Industry Growing, Labour Wages Downrent1
With the 2019 British Columbia construction industry underway, it’s time to take a look back to see how well the industry did during the 2018 fall season. There have been dramatic positive and negative changes that have occurred which could significantly impact sector growth and employee job fulfillment in the coming months.
Growth Trends Remain Optimistic
Currently, the BC construction industry remains strong. It has a construction rank of #1 by the BC’s Goods Sector as it contributes 8.6% to BC’s GDP. The number of construction companies has also seen upward growth by 12% during a 5-year trend. At the time of this article, there are currently 24,387 companies across British Columbia.
Proposed construction project values have reached up to $254 billion as the value of current construction projects that are now underway is up by 34% at $115.1 billion. As for employees, there was a modest 12% growth during the same 5-year period. There are roughly 251,707 employees in the construction sector.
Construction Job and Wage Decreases
While the BC construction industry has seen growth, the unfilled job rate and average yearly wage rate has experienced significant drops. By 2027, it’s predicted that about 53%, or 11,700, construction jobs will not be filled due to a labour shortage. Average yearly wages will also see a significant drop by 4%. A worker in the BC construction sector may earn up to $57,647 yearly ($14.5 billion cumulative yearly wages).
Why has there been a drop in unfilled jobs? Many different factors could be contributing to this drastic decrease. The movement to tech can lead to the elimination of many jobs, particularly in the administrative, managerial and office areas of the Canadian construction industry.
There have also been construction industry challenges of bringing in lower-aged workers. These workers will learn the necessary skills on the job. However, due to these employees not having the established education or experience, construction companies are lowering wages for these entry-level positions. This circumstance is pushing out older, more experienced construction contractors, machine operators and workers who once had higher wages.
Another interesting 5-year trend to take note is the increase of BC high school students taking a construction trades program after graduation. One year after graduation, about 1 in 45 high school grads are seeking educational programs in the construction industry as there has been a roughly 89% increase in this statistic.
In addition, while the number of new construction companies entering the sector has grown, it has also been found that the majority are not hiring large work crews. On average, 92 percent of BC construction companies have 20 or less employees on their payroll.
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