Among hourly craft positions, AGC respondents had the most trouble with staffing pipelayers; 89% of contractors had trouble filling those spots. Glaziers were the least difficult job to staff, but even so, 70% of respondents had trouble finding workers in those positions.
Salaried positions, such as architects, engineers and estimating personnel, are easier to fill, but 81% of firms still struggled to find project managers/supervisors and 77% estimating personnel. Half had trouble with vital jobs like safety personnel.
“We continue to be faced with the challenge of hiring superintendents and skilled craft labor,” said Alison Tripp, national recruiting lead for Redwood City, California-based DPR Construction. “As our more seasoned superintendents are getting closer to retirement, we must double our efforts to make careers in the field attractive to younger talent.”
The toughest positions to fill are some of the most vital: ones that require leadership or experience in the trades.
Some of the toughest construction jobs to fill
% contractors having trouble staffing
Mean hourly wage
Mean annual salary
SOURCE: BLS and AGC data.
“There was a point in time where he who had the people hoped he got the work,” said Greg Sizemore, vice president of workforce development, safety, health and environmental for Associated Builders and Contractors. “Now it’s he who has the work hopes he can find the people.”
Sizemore said having a secure workforce plays an important role in knowing if a contractor can deliver a project. The work is out there, he said, but contractors may not have the confidence to chase it and win it if they don’t think they can find the staff.
Tripp said DPR has focused on training craft laborers in an effort to highlight longer-lasting career paths in the field.
The toughest roles to fill
When asked about which craft positions’ shortages would have the biggest impact on construction in 2023, AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson found it tough to select just a few.
“Every craft is important at some stage of a project,” Simonson said.
A lack of workers on any one task can slow a project to a crawl, Sizemore noted. Waiting for a concrete pour or electric wiring can prevent the next step from happening.
Sizemore said from his vantage point, the toughest jobs to fill are ones like carpenter, electrician, plumber, mechanic or millwright and project manager.
Tripp said she doesn’t see the labor shortage getting better any time soon, and as the experienced workforce ages out, the industry will face a crisis with trying to find, recruit, train and retain workers and potential superintendents.
Tripp said she anticipates DPR and its competitors will continue to have to raise pay and benefits for workers. Additionally the number of women in construction has jumped, which Tripp attributed to efforts to open the door wider and recruit from a broader pool.
Even still, the end is not in sight.
“Currently, there are over 25% more construction opportunities available than qualified people to fill them throughout the industry,” Tripp said. “The trends for 2023 and beyond are showing that this gap will be there for several years to come.
Building All of Ontario
Government’s investments supporting economic growth, protecting jobs and building infrastructure in rural communities
TORONTO — The Ontario government is working with its rural municipal partners to build housing, encourage economic growth and development, reduce red tape, strengthen the agri-food sector and promote rural municipalities as great places to live, work and do business.
“Our government has a plan that’s building all of Ontario,” said Premier Doug Ford. “No matter the size of your community or where you live, we’re making sure every inch of Ontario benefits from our investments to support economic growth and protect jobs, including by building infrastructure in rural communities. We want every part of Ontario to be the best place to live, work and raise a family.”
During the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference, Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, announced that the government is providing more than $936 million in much-needed funds to municipal service managers and Indigenous program administrators in 2023-24 and 2024-25 through initiatives under the National Housing Strategy to maintain and create more community housing. This includes an increase of over $23 million in funding under the Canada-Ontario Housing Benefit for women and children fleeing violence. These funds are the result of Ontario’s ongoing advocacy and recent negotiations with the federal government to help ensure our partners in the housing sector have the resources needed to protect, renew and expand community housing across the province.
Minister Clark also announced the province is extending the deadline for implementation projects approved under Intake 3 of the Municipal Modernization Program (MMP) to streamline, digitize and modernize their services, including managing and approving applications for residential developments. Ontario is also extending the deadline for final reports for projects under the Streamline Development Approval Fund.
“Rural communities are the backbone of Ontario’s success and key to the province’s economy,” said Minister Clark. “Our government sees a bright future for rural Ontario with opportunities for growth, enhanced education and training, and increased workforce productivity – all while providing a high quality of life and housing options that Ontario families can afford.”
Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs also announced the launch of a new intake of the Rural Economic Development (RED) program. The RED program supports projects that help increase economic opportunities, create and retain jobs, and support the economic growth and resilience of rural and Indigenous communities. Applications for the new RED intake will be accepted until February 23, 2023. This program aligns with the government’s priorities of removing barriers to investment, opening doors to rural economic development and creating good jobs across the province.
The ROMA conference is an important opportunity for provincial and municipal leaders to discuss and collaborate on rural priorities. This year’s conference was held in-person in Toronto for the first time since 2020, and rural municipal officials had an opportunity to interact face-to-face with Ministers, Associate Ministers and Parliamentary Assistants. They exchanged ideas, discussed opportunities and identified ways to address some of the key priorities facing rural municipalities today, including increasing housing supply, strengthening local infrastructure, tackling homelessness, improving mental health supports, economic development and more.
“Rural Ontario has always played an essential role in the prosperity of this province. The Rural Economic Development program provides rural municipalities, Indigenous communities, and not-for-profits with the tools they need for projects that contribute to local economic vitality,” said Minister Thompson. “Going forward our government will continue to build on rural successes.”
“Rural communities and those who call them home are what make Northern Ontario an incredible place to live, work and raise a family,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development and Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “Our government is focused on a robust approach to promoting economic development across the North and we are supporting rural businesses as they look to grow their operations and workforces.”
“Rural Ontario is full of untapped potential. ROMA has spent the past two years exploring ways to ensure rural municipalities recover from the pandemic and realize their promise,” said ROMA Chair and Mayor of the Village of Westport, Robin Jones. “We thank the Ontario Government for participating in the ROMA conference and we look forward to partnering to find creative solutions that will strengthen our communities for a more prosperous Ontario where no one is left behind.”
The National Housing Strategy (NHS) bilateral agreement between Ontario and Canada provides more than $5.75 billion over nine years to protect, renew and expand community housing and deliver direct affordability support to Ontarians in need of housing.
The Ontario government has invested nearly $4.4 billion over the past three years to grow and enhance community and supportive housing, respond to COVID-19 and address homelessness for vulnerable Ontarians – including over $1.2 billion to service managers and Indigenous program administrators through the Social Services Relief Fund.
Since 2019, Ontario has committed more than $17.2 million to fund 308 economic development projects through the RED program.
Ontario is providing up to $28 million through Intake 3 of MMP to support 321 projects led by small and rural municipalities.
In January 2022, the province launched the Streamline Development Approval Fund to provide more than $45 million to help Ontario’s 39 largest municipalities modernize local approval processes for residential developments.
Ontario is investing nearly $4 billion to bring access to reliable high-speed internet to every community across the province by the end of 2025.
Ministers, Associate Ministers and Parliamentary Assistants held more than 320 delegation meetings with rural municipalities and municipal organizations at the 2023 ROMA conference.
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