Eight-year growth spurt expected for Manitoba’s construction industry

Manitoba’s construction industry will grow steadily over the next several years, with employment peaking in 2014 and remaining high until 2019. A new forecast scenario from the Construction Sector Council (CSC) – Construction Looking Forward: An Assessment Of Construction Labour Markets For Manitoba From 2011 To 2019 – says the growth is driven by last year’s strong rebound in residential building and by hydroelectric power projects.

Employment is estimated to increase by more than 20 per cent between 2011 and 2014, with boilermakers, carpenters, estimators, managers, millwrights, and electricians in tight supply. And some trades, including heavy equipment operators and truck drivers will need to shift gears – so-to-speak – as the stimulus-related road projects wind down and the utilities projects get underway.

Michael Moore, president of the Manitoba Homebuilders Association says the high levels of migration into Manitoba have triggered the residential investment growth, which is expected to continue over the forecast period. “The pace of residential expansion makes recruiting a challenge, especially for trades and occupations heavily involved in new construction such as carpenters, electricians, plasterers and plumbers,” he says. “But thanks to this type of forecast tool, we can plan ahead to better manage workforce supply and demand.”

The report says an estimated 6,000 new workforce entrants will join the construction industry, but that retirements will also reduce it by about 6,400. New construction means a balance of about 4,600 workers will need to be recruited from outside the local market.

“The need to attract skilled workers from other industries and provinces, when others are also competing for these skills, highlights the importance of our continued career promotion to attract youth, women, Aboriginal people, and immigrants,” says John Schubert, Principal, McCaine Electric Ltd. “We also need to expand and adapt our training and apprenticeship programs to attract these workers.”

Each year, the CSC compiles nine-year labour forecast scenarios for each province following consultations with industry leaders, including owners, contractors and labour groups, as well as governments and educational institutions.

The national and regional scenario-based forecasts are released annually and are available online at www.csc-ca.org. Forecast data is also available at www.constructionforecasts.ca.

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