Growth indicated for B.C. construction industry: survey

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VICTORIA, BC – This week, the British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA)  announced results of the 2014 BC Construction Industry Survey, with nearly 500 respondents articulating the major challenges and opportunities facing BC’s construction sector.

Responses from construction owners and employers, trade contractors, and suppliers demonstrate a united industry on key issues affecting productivity and profitability across the province: youth engagement, succession planning, outside competition, fair and transparent procurement practices, foreign workers, prompt payment, and others:

  • 18% of respondents searched internationally for skilled workers in the past year
  • About 50% of respondents in every region of the province say they plan to hire in the next year. Another 35% in each region say they might hire… leaving only about 15% of employers who aren’t hiring.
  • On average, large companies are planning to hire 35 tradespeople each this year.
  • 61% of respondents say that regional competition is hotter than it was two years ago, and 32% say that international competition has increased as well
  • 74% of Vancouver Island responded are now using online bidding tools

More than 230 respondents listed numerous trades and technical positions which they are having difficulty hiring for; the majority are for trades which require certifications, but also include labour positions and upper-level supervisory roles, indicating a disconnect between training and needs for the last several years. This disconnect in career planning is highlighted by one survey respondent, who commented: “Most families do not encourage the trades. It seems as though there is nothing between McDonald’s and university.”

“Construction employers are under increasing pressure and scrutiny,” advises Manley McLachlan, BCCA President. “This honest, straightforward input from industry is invaluable. The respondents are clearly deeply invested in the sector and have expressed a sincere need to resolve issues and move forward.”

The BCCA will be hosting 23 industry organizations at a Blueprint Summit on May 14 to give stakeholders their first opportunity to discuss the plans directly with the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training.

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