Construction leaders anticipate labour shortages, higher wages in 2023: ICBA

Journal of Commerce | DCN-JOC News Services | January 18, 2023

SURREY, B.C. — Construction companies are anticipating labour shortages, historic wage increases and red tape frustration in 2023, according to a recent survey from the British Columbia Independent Contractors and Businesses Association.

“The shortage of people is intensifying as Canada continues to go over a demographic cliff,” ICBA president Chris Gardner said in a news release.

According to the ICBA’s annual Wage and Benefits Survey, 80 per cent of ICBA’s member companies said they are experiencing labour shortages with 77 per cent of companies responding this is the biggest challenge their business is facing.

Wage increases are expected to be as high as six per cent this year. The B.C. construction industry currently employs around 250,000 people and accounts for 10 per cent of the provincial GDP.

Frustration with government red tape was evident with only two per cent of survey respondents saying the government is on the right track in terms of how it deals with their business and 55 per cent responding the government was not.

According to the survey, the average wage for construction trades surveyed is $35 per hour, or roughly $72,000 per year, with increases anticipated.

And while negative pressures mount, the outlook for people who want to work in construction is looking good.

“There has been no better time to pursue a career in construction than today,” Gardner said.