A Growing Demand

British Columbia’s construction labour market will be put to the test over the next decade, as the need to resource major projects will put a strain on the available local workforce. Retirements are expected to draw on the current labour force creating a significant skills vacuum that will require innovative and proactive planning to successfully navigate.

Buildforce’s National Construction and Maintenance Outlook paints a complex picture of tight construction labour markets, unprecedented non-residential construction demand, increased recruitment and retention challenges. “To meet these demands, the non-residential sector alone will need to add 17,000 new workers between 2019 and 2021.”

Work BC’s Labour Market Outlook forecasts 917,000 job openings between now and 2027. The majority of these new job openings will be due to people leaving the work force, mostly through retirement. While some older workers may choose to work past retirement age, this will not be enough to solve the expected shortage.

A Need for New Workers

Over the past decade, BC’s population 65 years or older has increased, while the population of people in their prime working years has been declining. Residents who are 15-24 years old are expected to decline across the same period. Nearly half of expected job openings will be filled by people entering the workforce for the first time. New Canadians and workers from other provinces are expected to fill the rest of the job opportunities.

A Brave New World

According to a recent study by the World Economic Forum “by 2020 more than one-third of the desired core skill sets for most occupations will be comprised of skills not currently considered crucial to the job”. The top competencies projected for 2020 involve Complex Problem Solving, Critical Thinking, Creativity, People Management, Emotional Intelligence and Cognitive Flexibility. Instead of going to school to prepare for a specific job, the future workforce is coming to understand the benefits of preparing for a world that uses core skills and competencies but also takes into account their personal characteristics and preferences.

A Reality Check

Construction is an important solution for social and climate change. It responds to urbanization demands and is a creator and consumer of new technologies and materials.

  • By 2027, the sector is projected to face a significant skilled labour shortfall.
  • By 2030, deaths are projected to outnumber births.
  • By 2032, the industry will be building carbon neutral buildings.
  • By 2041, one million people are expected to have relocated to Metro Vancouver.

The industry is under upwards pressure to build faster, greener and more productively than ever before. Helping young people acquire adaptable skills and embracing emerging technologies is more important now than ever.

The future starts now.