B.C. faces a tough battle for top talent

Journal of Commerce, Guest Column | Harry Jenkins May 20, 2013

Despite British Columbia being one of the most picturesque places to live in Canada, there is still a domestic war for top talent.

Other provinces, such as Alberta, are offering higher salary ranges, which are drawing professionals out of the province.

So, what does this mean for the construction industry?

Higher wages elsewhere are drawing professionals out of province
Higher wages elsewhere are drawing professionals out of province

A recent salary guide issued by the Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA) and Hays, noted an expected increase in business activity for the year ahead.

Although opportunities are arising across all sectors, for the purpose of this column, I looked at the water and wastewater sector, and what is driving growth for 2014.

The B.C. government has a strong focus on infrastructure, having allotted significant funding for new projects.

As a result, a lot of work is currently out to tender and many contractors in the local industry are predicting a strong year for the utilities sector.

With growth comes more job opportunities and we’re expecting an even stronger demand for project managers and estimators, in addition to many other roles.

Current major projects in the local region include the South Fork Water Treatment Plant in Nanaimo, which is scheduled for completion in December of 2014 and the Coquitlam Water Supply UV Disinfection Facility.

With emphasis put on the deadlines for these projects, we can expect to see an increase in both contract and permanent work throughout the year, and an increase in demand for professionals with water/wastewater construction experience.

Being a very niche market, professionals with this experience will be extremely sought after, and will be in a strong position for negotiations.

Recruitment is the theme for 2013-2014 for the construction industry in the BC market.

Employers need to be proactive and strategic in their hiring practices to get the best and niche talent they are seeking.

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