Need for work­ers ex­pe­ri­enc­ing labour pains

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Mike Moore

THE Con­struc­tion Look­ing For­ward doc­u­ment was re­leased this week by the Con­struc­tion Sec­tor Coun­cil and the re­search shows con­tin­ued need for pro­fes­sion­als in all trades and oc­cu­pa­tions. The reg­u­lar but slow­ing growth from 2010 to 2018 has been high­lighted by three dis­tinct pe­ri­ods.

The Shal­low Dip (2008-09) oc­curred im­me­di­ately af­ter the record years of con­struc­tion ac­tiv­ity. Com­bined with a world­wide re­ces­sion, there was re­ally nowhere for the em­ploy­ment re­quire­ment num­bers to go but down.

For­tu­nately, in Man­i­toba, this was only a slight de­crease. Res­i­den­tial, roads and re­lated en­gi­neer­ing were most im­pacted, but not to any great de­gree. A fast re­bound was pre­dicted.

The Ramp­ing Up pe­riod (2010-2012) backs this pre­dic­tion with new hous­ing and util­ity-re­lated en­gi­neer­ing con­struc­tion ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the biggest gains.

Fi­nally, the High Plateau (2013-2018) shows an­nual in­cre­ments be­tween one and two per cent. The in­creased labour needs do not grow by large amounts, how­ever it is im­por­tant to note that the in­crease is ex­pe­ri­enced vir­tu­ally ev­ery year, thereby ex­hibit­ing a con­stant need for labour mar­ket en­try. Labour mar­kets are al­ready tight and so this ex­tended growth pat­tern will only ex­ac­er­bate the sit­u­a­tion.

The Man­i­toba con­struc­tion labour mar­ket ex­pe­ri­enced very lit­tle un­em­ploy­ment dur­ing the re­ces­sion. Fu­ture labour re­quire­ments can­not be met through ex­ist­ing un­em­ploy­ment ranks. Re­cruit­ing must oc­cur out­side.

From 2010 through 2018, con­struc­tion em­ploy­ment will rise by 6,200 jobs.

Add to this re­place­ment re­quire­ments for 5,300 re­tire­ments oc­cur­ring over this pe­riod and an­other 900 lost through other means and there is a mas­sive short­fall of skilled trades work­ers. If prior em­ploy­ment en­try pat­terns con­tinue, we can ex­pect 6,500 new en­trants, thereby leav­ing this prov­ince with a 7,800-worker deficit.

The iden­ti­fied worker needs are spread out evenly through­out the var­i­ous trades. In the next four years, pro­jec­tions are that 23 of the 28 trades will ex­pe­ri­ence se­ri­ous short­ages of skilled labour. With the mo­bil­ity that cur­rently ex­ists in the lo­cal in­dus­try, this means that vir­tu­ally ev­ery sin­gle trade can en­sure con­tin­ued em­ploy­ment for at least the next eight years.

For ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing 2010 Con­struc­tion Look­ing For­ward or the Labour Mar­ket In­di­ca­tors in Man­i­toba’s con­struc­tion in­dus­try, visit the web­site of the Man­i­toba Con­struc­tion Sec­tor Coun­cil at www.mbcsc.com.

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