Planning for major new projects will be a top priority for New Brunswick’s construction industry, as retirements and out-of-province projects draw on the skilled labour pool, according to BuildForce Canada’s 2014-2023 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast.
The forecast shows a moderate decline in construction employment over the next two years before the start of new major engineering projects create employment opportunities in 2016. Across the outlook scenario, industry faces the growing challenge of an aging workforce, with as many as 6,000 skilled tradespeople or 28% of the current labour force expected to retire.
“Replacing retirees and building up the workforce is essential,” said Rosemary Sparks, executive director of BuildForce Canada. “The goal is to be ready when specialized workers are needed for pipeline, mining, and marine terminal projects starting in 2016.”
These projects may also involve recruiting New Brunswick’s skilled trades back from other provinces and/or hiring a temporary workforce from outside the province.
“The challenge is convincing skilled workers to stay and others to come back when projects at home ramp up,” added Sparks. “That’s why now is the time to focus on recruitment, training and retaining a skilled labour force.”