Construction industry becoming more diverse, survey finds

A survey of the construction industry found that it remains the province’s top employer in the goods-producing sector with 219,500 workers, though that is a three per cent drop over the past five years, the B.C. Construction Association said.

It also showed the workforce is becoming slightly more diverse, as 10,667 credentialed tradeswomen now comprise 6.2 per cent of the province’s 172,045 credentialed trades.

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The survey suggested women are more likely to have trade credentials, reported a higher overall satisfaction with the industry, and were more likely to recommend the construction industry as a career path than men.

The survey showed the number of construction companies has increased to 25,784, up nine per cent over the past five years, and the average wage of an employee is $63,168.

According to the B.C. Construction Association, because it has been able to operate safely through the pandemic, the industry offered workers improved financial stability, job satisfaction and a diverse workforce. However, the pandemic also meant more pressure on employers, who sought to balance safety protocols, late payments, rising costs and materials shortages with their responsibility to keep working when others could not.

“Our industry has been through a lot this past year, but amidst the challenges we can see that our workforce is getting more diverse, which will help our skilled labour shortage,” said association president Chris Atchison.

Atchison said contractors had hoped for “more fulsome” investments in infrastructure in the B.C. budget to offset significant cost increases. He added that prompt-payment legislation is urgently needed to alleviate the burden of late payments on completed work.

The survey showed that during the pandemic, the key issue for contractors remains the availability of a skilled workforce, though the lack of prompt payment is now No. 2 on the list.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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