Manitoba’s construction companies in a hiring mode

A new forecast indicates Manitoba’s construction industry is building momentum and fuelling a high demand for more skilled workers.

Construction employment in Manitoba is on the rise and will keep growing despite the economic downturn, according to the Construction Sector Council’s (CSC’s) latest forecast. 

“This is one sector that’s helping to build Manitoba out of the recession,” said George Gritziotis, executive director of the Construction Sector Council. “And there’s no letting up. Over 10,000 skilled trades’ workers are needed here over the next nine years.” 

“Construction companies remain in a hiring mode which reflects the positive outlook for the industry,” said John Schubert, president of the Winnipeg Construction Association.  “There are terrific career opportunities for Manitobans who want to enter the skilled trades.” 

Highlights of the Construction Sector Council’s annual report, Construction Looking Forward, for Manitoba show the combination of government stimulus and planned projects, including airport redevelopment, mine upgrades and pipeline conversion, will boost employment in many skilled trades by more than five per cent between now and 2011.  

“And those figures will keep going up,” said Michael Moore, president of the Manitoba Homebuilders’ Association. 

“Housing expansion between 2011 and 2017 is expected to boost employment in key trades by more than 25 per cent. That’s quite a trend,” he added. 

The forecast shows an estimated 5,400 construction workers will retire between 2009 and 2017. This is in addition to the 5,300 skilled workers needed to keep up with demand. 

Rising construction activity will be driven by strong residential investment, and major hydro, mining and pipeline projects. 

According to the recent RBC Economics Provincial Outlook, Manitoba is also expected to benefit from $1.6 billion in infrastructure spending announced in the provincial government’s 2009 budget.

“The take home message is plan now,” said Dave Martin, executive director of the Manitoba Building and Construction Trades Council. “If we step up apprenticeship and recruitment programs, we’re confident more young people will realize there’s a great future in the skilled trades. This is where the jobs are.”