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Every year, BuildForce Canada produces annual Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward highlight reports for every province and territory in Canada. These insightful reports serve as a valuable resource for decision-makers, offering crucial information to anticipate future labor force demands. By providing a 10-year forecast scenario, the reports identify the specific trades and occupations that are expected to be in high demand within the construction industry.

According to the latest report, British Columbia’s construction market experienced robust growth in 2021 and 2022, reaching record investment levels in both residential and non-residential sectors. However, the near-term outlook indicates contractions, primarily driven by rising interest rates impacting the housing sector and the completion of key major projects in the non-residential sector.

Looking ahead, the residential sector is expected to recover swiftly after 2024 as interest rates ease and consumer wages adapt. The growth in renovation activity will play a vital role in sustaining employment levels above those seen in 2022. On the other hand, activity in the non-residential sector will fluctuate depending on the progress of ongoing major projects, with maintenance work contributing to its overall growth.

Although construction employment is projected to contract from its peak in 2022, it is expected to grow by approximately 7,400 workers by 2032. However, the industry will face labour market challenges due to recent contractions in the labor force and the anticipated retirement of around 38,200 workers by 2032, equivalent to 20% of the current labor force.

To meet the construction demands, the industry will need to recruit and train approximately 52,600 workers throughout the forecast period. The average annual unemployment rate in the sector fell below 4% in 2022, underscoring the need to address labor force shortages.

Key highlights:

  • Non-residential employment is expected to reach a forecast peak of over 89,000 workers in 2023. Although it will recede modestly until 2025 due to the conclusion of major projects, it will recover later in the period, surpassing 2022 levels by 2% (+1,400 workers).
  • Renovation and maintenance employment will offset declines in the new-housing sector, resulting in a net increase of 6,000 workers (+6%) in overall residential employment compared to 2022 levels.
  • The retirement of more than 38,200 workers during the forecast period will increase the industry’s overall hiring requirement to 52,600 workers.

The Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward report indicates that British Columbia continues to be one of Canada’s busiest construction markets. Despite anticipated contractions, sustained investment and strategic recruitment efforts will be essential for the industry to navigate challenges and seize growth opportunities.

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2023 BC Construction & Maintenance Looking Forward