Wages for B.C. construction workers are expected to increase nearly 10 per cent over the next two years, according to the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA).
ICBA president Chris Gardner highlighted results of the 2018 Wage and Benefits Survey at ICBA’s annual CEO Breakfast held at 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 per cent said they needed more help; sheet metal workers, 91 per cent; electricians and plumbers, 89 per cent. 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 per cent of the provincial GDP. This year, survey respondents said they expect to give their workers a 4.5 per cent raise; in 2019, they expect another 5.1 per cent increase.
The ICBA Wage and Benefits Survey also looks regionally at how optimistic companies are about adding more work in 2018. Fully 96 per cent of construction companies expect business in 2018 to be as strong or stronger than 2017:
- Interior: 43 per cent of contractors expect more work in 2018 than last year; 82 per cent say they are short of workers, especially labourers, carpenters and framers.
- North: 60per cent of contractors expect more work in 2018 than last year; 80per cent say they are short of workers, especially carpenters, truck drivers and drywallers.
- Vancouver Island: 49per cent of contractors expect more work in 2018 than last year; 76per cent say they are short of workers, especially carpenters, labourers and framers.
- Lower Mainland-Fraser Valley-Whistler: 55per cent of contractors expect more work in 2018 than last year; 82per cent 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.”