Job openings to flood construction sector
Report suggests industry to fill 3,900 positions
THE BuildForce report titled Construction Looking Forward was released this week. This report is a forecast of all construction anticipated to take place in Manitoba during the next 10 years and then assesses the labour market required to properly carry out these projects. It tracks 34 different trades and occupations in both residential and nonresidential sectors. The residential segment of this report noted a significant slowdown in new-home construction for the past two years, along with a continued demand for renovations. From now until 2025, it is anticipated 3,300 retirements will fuel the demand for new entrants into the residential-construction employment market. In addition, anticipated market growth over time will create another 600 new jobs, meaning there will be openings for 3,900 people in the field. Approximately 3,200 entrants are anticipated through the normal channels (high schools, colleges, parents bringing offspring into family business, apprenticeships). That leaves 700 unfilled positions requiring new workers and new recruitment strategies. Retirements tend to be a planned and steady process. It isn’t anticipated any one year will bring more than the next. However, the ebb and flow of new housing will create a much larger demand toward the end of this decade, levelling out into the next. This will mean a greater demand for new entrants in the immediate future, with steadier numbers after that. How will the industry fill these vacancies? The obvious answer is the recruitment of young people into a well-paying career with excellent opportunities for advancement. This isn’t as easy as it should be in that our education system coupled with parental influence does not lend itself to encouraging young people into careers in construction. The colleges (Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, Red River, Assiniboine) are getting the message and are creating programs that will enable people to learn, train and directly access the workplace. The Manitoba Construction Sector Council (www.mbcsc. com) offers a wealth of information on careers in construction with training, online courses and resources. Manitoba relies on immigrants to maintain and grow our population. Targeting skills in construction when selecting suitable candidates would be a positive step. Of course, ex-pat Manitobans who may have ventured west seeking their fortune are now returning, given the downturn in the Alberta economy. Finally, there is a fair amount of mobility across the construction workforce; those working in the residential sector may do some work in commercial and vice-versa. This flexibility generally guarantees demand. In summary, pursuing a career in residential construction remains a positive choice for Manitoba’s young people, now and for years to come.
Mike Moore is president of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association.
A report suggests as many as 3,900 jobs will open up in the construction sector during the next decade.