A Crisis in the Construction Industry: How Does This Job Shortage Benefit You?
So many of us young people are facing an uncertain future: enormous debt, skyrocketing rent, job opportunities that are at best part-time purgatory or at worst one casual contract after another. Unlike previous generations, it may be years and years before we experience anything close to stable work with benefits and pensions.
To all of you students unsure if your chosen major will yield a steady job after graduation, what if I told you, there is a field where the current labour shortage virtually guarantees you a job? To all of you juggling multiple part-time jobs, what if I told you, you could have one full-time permanent job? To all of you working in the gig economy, what if I told you, you could have a job with benefits and bonuses? Let me tell you about a field that will check all these boxes: the construction trade industry.
The numbers do not lie. This year, Canada’s construction labour force has 1.4 million workers. This sounds like a lot, right? Unfortunately, even with over a million workers, the construction field currently has the second highest job vacancy rate in Canada.
Moreover, in just nine more years, more than 20% of that 1.4 million group will be eligible to retire. The situation is even more critical in the Maritime provinces: 25% of the construction workers there are expected to retire in a decade.
Increasing numbers of building projects is also a contributing factor to increased demand for construction professionals. Toronto, for example, has the more number of cranes on the entire continent. Who’s operating them?
What all this translates to is: “The message is clear: if you want to work in construction, there’s a job out there for you,” as Chris Gardner, CEO of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of British Columbia, so succinctly puts it.
This presents an amazing opportunity for you. The construction labour shortage is current and impending, which means if you start your apprenticeship (which is paid!) now, your job will still be in demand by the time you graduate as a journeyperson. This eliminates the pitfall of discovering your future job is no longer wanted after spending years on the necessary education. Ontario alone needs 170,000 construction workers over the next decade.
At the beginning of your career, you may expect an annual salary of $37,500, but as you gain more experience and/or join a unionized job, you can expect to earn more than $60,000 a year plus benefits. Salaries go even higher if you specialize in a specific construction trade, such as glazing, pipefitting, and welding.
If these incomes do not impress you, keep in mind that due to increasing demand and desperate employers, wages for general construction labourers are expected to increase 4.5% this year and again 5.1% in 2019. For more specialized construction tradespeople, wage hikes are even bigger: ironworkers will get a 7.7% increase this year. In addition, firms will want to offer more and better incentives to hire and keep talent.
Stop dreaming of winning the lottery. If you are looking for job certainty and stability, look no further than the construction industry. The continuing labour shortage will mean you have no difficulty finding jobs—all across Canada! Think of the traveling opportunities! When you are inevitably faced with multiple job offers, you can have your pick of the best pay and benefits.