September 16, 2013
Taking a look at labour supply and demand for roadbuilding projects in British Columbia
Guest Column | Harry Jenkins
With key roadbuilding projects coming to a close and increased competition for skilled workers for recently funded infrastructure projects, what changes can we expect to see in this candidate-driven market?
There should be an influx of top talent to the local area.
After three years of construction, the South Fraser Perimeter Road is due for completion Dec. 1 2013.
Another example is the Port Mann/Highway 1 project, which is slowing down significantly.
Together, these projects are releasing highly skilled labour back into the B.C. marketplace including technical project managers, field engineers, project co-ordinators, foreman, superintendents and project engineers.
As an employer, if you are looking to attract the best candidates for your project, it is essential to offer the right benefits packages tailored to the long-term lifestyle choices of these workers.
However, there will still be continuing skills shortage in specific areas.
Senior superintendents with roadbuilding and pipe-laying experience are now in demand as contractors look to increase their manpower to handle the influx of work following the investment into transportation infrastructure projects.
In this fiscal year 2013/14, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure will invest more than $945 million in projects including the Low Level Road, North Vancouver, Highway 99 at 16 Avenue Interchange, Surrey and Evergreen Line, Coquitlam.
The result is that hiring managers are offering above average compensation packages in order to secure the skills they need out of today’s tight pool of quality candidates.
That these two projects are ending now, just as roadbuilding projects are being heavily invested in, could not be more timely.
The senior superintendents from the South Fraser Perimeter Road and Port Mann Highway 1 projects are exactly the skill types that are needed for the newly launched, government funded projects.
Competition to attract the very best of these professionals is fierce as all contractors want candidates to fill these roles.
The question is how to secure the best talent for your projects.
As with any mass influx of labour back into the market, the key for employers is to effectively filter to find the very best skills in the market.
The main draw for candidates at the moment is opportunities that offer long-term career growth and stability.
After working on these larger projects, people are looking to settle down and progress within their career.
Therefore, although base salary still plays a large part in attracting strong candidates, there is a much heavier focus on compiling competitive benefits packages like RSPs, company vehicles and additional vacation.
Our consultants will be working with our clients in roadbuilding and infrastructure sectors of the construction industry to build attractive and custom-made compensation and benefits packages to attract the right individuals from this new talent pool.
As these projects close and release these sought after individuals back into the market, I’m looking forward to being involved in the overhaul of the local candidate market over the coming months.
Harry Jenkins is a recruiting expert in construction for Hays, one of the world's largest specialist recruitment consultancy. Send comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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