A new report released Thursday says Alberta will lead Canada’s construction industry through the next decade, with major new oilsands projects and residential work driving job growth in virtually every year between now and 2023.
BuildForce Canada’s 2014-2023 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast said the pace of expansion has resumed, with construction employment across all markets growing past the 2008 peak by 2013.
Major resource and engineering projects lead non-residential job growth in every year over the next decade. The start-up of new major oilsands projects this year and hiring related to flood damage repair will boost hiring in 2014.
“While Alberta’s construction industry has adapted well to conditions to date, there may be recruiting challenges,” said Rosemary Sparks, executive director of BuildForce Canada, in a news release. “There’s stiff competition for skilled labour in other provinces, and meeting local needs won’t be easy. As retirements rise, we are also facing the potential loss of thousands of skilled and experienced workers.”
The report said Alberta will need to replace up to 45,000 workers, as up to 22 per cent of its workforce retires over the next decade.
It also said that Alberta leads the demand for skilled and specialized labour in major projects across Canada: the oilsands industry matures and capacity grows larger, shifting employment from new capital projects to increased ongoing maintenance work and sustaining capital projects over the long term; industrial, transportation, electricity generation and transmission and pipeline work add to labour demands with most of the current scheduled projects adding jobs from 2015 to 2019; commercial and institutional activity grows slowly from 2016 to 2019 and then provides a steady increase in jobs from 2020 to 2023; and residential construction spending and employment will exceed the 2007 peak, with a rise in renovations and repairs.
“Alberta’s skilled labour requirements far exceed those of other provinces, and that makes building a strong, permanent workforce a must,” said Sparks. “There’s a real need to continue promoting skilled trades careers as well as ensuring training and retention programs are sufficient to support the next generation of workers.”