November 4, 2013
Contractors develop strategies for attracting workers
A panel of industry experts will take the floor at Buildex Calgary this year, to talk about the city's construction labour market.
Peter Pilarski, vice president for southern Alberta of the Merit Contractors Association, is moderating the panel, A Look at Calgary’s Construction Labour Market, which will feature Mark Alton, workforce manager for Southern Alberta for PCL Builders Inc., Neil Moffatt, corporate safety officer for Canem Systems Ltd., and Jeanette Sutherland, manager of workforce and productivity for Calgary Economic Development.
Attendees will hear about specific trades that are in heavy demand in the market right now, such as heavy equipment operators, because of flood-related road washouts and large infrastructure work, Pilarski said.
There will also be a need for workers, who do residential and commercial renovations, including plumbers, electricians and painters.
“I think what we’re going to get into are strategies into attracting more people into companies to do some of this flood re-building,” Pilarski said.
“People will learn about some unique HR strategies companies are using right now.”
For 2013, the market is busy, Pilarski said.
“There’s a lot of construction work going on, but it’s somewhat balanced,” he said, adding that members of the Calgary Construction Association have been able to find workers.
“Last month, we were higher in terms of overall construction work and the number of people working in construction in Alberta, than we were at the peak of the last boom,” he said.
In June, Alberta’s construction industry employed 237,900 people.
At the peak of the last boom in Alberta, there was so much work in the northern part of the province, it was pulling labour out of Calgary and Edmonton for those bigger projects, Pilarski said.
This year, it’s more balanced and there is more industrial work around the Calgary area, which is allowing people to stay in Southern Alberta rather than trekking up north.
Employment in the construction industry in Alberta is rising to the numbers seen in 2007, according to BuildForce Canada’s recent report, Construction Looking Forward. It states that a lot of new construction will occur in 2016 through 2018.
Moderate and balanced growth is forecast for the province through 2021.
This is expected to create jobs for boilermakers, bricklayers, carpenters, crane operators, welders, steamfitters and iron and sheet metal workers.
The report is based on the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producer’s June 2012 production scenario.
The panel discussion, A Look at Calgary’s Construction Labour Market, is taking place Wednesday, Nov. 6 starting at 11 a.m.
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