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Construction wages in BC expected to rise by nearly 10 percent through 2019

Employment and wages are expected to rise in the construction sector through 2019, according to the ICBA.
Employment and wages are expected to rise in the construction sector through 2019, according to the ICBA.

B.C. construction workers should see pay raises of nearly 10 percent over the next two years, according to the results of the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association's (ICBA) 2018 Wage and Benefits Survey. But it's still getting tougher and tougher for companies to find skilled workers.

ICBA President Chris Gardner released the results of the survey at ICBA's annual CEO Breakfast, kicking off the BUILDEX tradeshow in Vancouver.

"With such strong demand for workers, construction wages are growing more than twice as fast as inflation," said Gardner. "The need is intense. Every single glass company we surveyed this year said they needed more glaziers. For pipefitting companies, 93% said they needed more help; sheet metal workers, 91%; electricians and plumbers, 89%. The message is clear: if you want to work in construction, there's a job out there for you."

Construction in B.C. now employs more than 225,000 people and contributes nearly 10 percent of the provincial GDP. This year, survey respondents said they expect to give their workers a 4.5% raise; in 2019, they expect another 5.1% increase.

The ICBA Wage and Benefits Survey also looks regionally at how optimistic companies are about adding more work in 2018. Fully 96% of construction companies expect business in 2018 to be as strong or stronger than 2017:

  • Interior: 43% of contractors expect more work in 2018 than last year; 82% say they are short of workers, especially labourers, carpenters and framers.
  • North: 60% of contractors expect more work in 2018 than last year; 80% say they are short of workers, especially carpenters, truck drivers and drywallers.
  • Vancouver Island: 49% of contractors expect more work in 2018 than last year; 76% say they are short of workers, especially carpenters, labourers and framers.
  • Lower Mainland-Fraser Valley-Whistler: 55% of contractors expect more work in 2018 than last year; 82% say they are short of workers, especially carpenters, labourers and plumbers.

"Our findings bode well for opportunities in construction and its $19 billion annual contribution to provincial GDP - as long as we can continue to get to and stay at ‘yes' on major projects and otherwise maintain a competitive business climate," said Gardner. "We must do more to attract investment into British Columbia, ensuring that we continue to build the infrastructure and harness our resources responsibly."

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