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New survey suggests major labour shortage in local construction

Check Workforce Planning for Sudbury and Manitoulin Job Portal for thousands of available local jobs

There’s no lack of currently available job opportunities in the Sudbury-Manitoulin construction industry. What there is, however, is a shortage of workers qualified, interested, or willing to fill those positions.

That information comes from a new survey of local employers conducted by Workforce Planning for Sudbury and Manitoulin, administrators of the area’s most comprehensive job board.

Designed to identify challenges, needs, and shortages in the local construction industry workforce, the survey confirms what the majority of local employers already knew, that according to Reggie Caverson, Executive Director of Workforce Planning for Sudbury & Manitoulin.

“We surveyed employers in both the ICI (Industrial Commercial Institutional) and Residential sectors,” said Caverson. “Of the employers that responded, 100 percent told us that they had hired in the past 12 months and that they plan to hire more in the next 12 months. All of them are hiring, which is good to know. However, it’s not them saying they need just a few people. They’re having significant hiring challenges in all positions.”

According to the survey, the hardest positions to fill are in the skilled trades, which continue to suffer a labour shortage across both Ontario and the entire Canadian construction industry.

Carpenters are in particularly short supply, as are general labourers who are reliable and willing to work for traditionally lower construction industry wages. The challenges finding workers to fill construction jobs are not limited to the actual job site, which was a surprise finding according to Caverson.

“The industry is also having a hard time finding office personnel and administration staff,” she said. “They’re also having trouble finding qualified supervisors, project managers and coordinators. In fact, one of the employers said superintendents with experience and qualifications don’t exist anymore.”

The survey numbers reflect a number of other major hiring challenges facing the Sudbury-Manitoulin construction industry.

For example, 75 percent of employers said there are not enough applicants for available positions, 63 percent say applicants lack appropriate skills, 59 percent say applicants lack work experience, and half say applicants have unrealistic wage expectations. One of the issues the industry faces is in the methods being used to reach out and find potential construction workers.

“Interestingly, from our construction employer survey we found that a lot of the construction employers are still using word of mouth to say they’re hiring and to find potential workers,” said Caverson. “They don’t use a lot of the online job sites to post jobs or look for workers. They are going to other contractors saying we’re looking for somebody that is really good at doing A, B, C, or D. It may work for some, but it may not be the best route.”

Workforce Planning for Sudbury & Manitoulin is definitely working hard to assist the construction industry in filling critical construction jobs in the area. Funded by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development, the online platform is designed to provide a comprehensive local overview of the job market to aid anyone looking for work in the area. Jobs in Sudbury-Manitoulin are updated daily with over 3500 new and local jobs posted each month by hundreds of employers who are hiring.

While Workforce Planning for Sudbury & Manitoulin does not accept resumes or job ads directly from employers, Jobs in Sudbury-Manitoulin helps provide a snapshot of what jobs are in demand across different districts, municipalities, by job category, skill level, and wages.

For more information, visit them online here.