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Construction industry optimistic for 2016 except in northern B.C., survey suggests

(December 16, 2015 – Vancouver)  B.C.’s Interior, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are optimistic for increased work volumes and wages in 2016, according to the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C.’s annual survey. However, Northern B.C. projects a decline in growth despite increased activity.

While previous surveys indicated promising years for the construction industry, the 2016 survey suggests a shift in northern B.C.

The survey found that only 22 per cent of open shop businesses in northern B.C. are predicting an increase in activity in 2016, down from 58 per cent in 2015 and 71 per cent in 2014. With fewer companies in northern B.C. projecting an increase in work volume, many respondents suggest they will be hiring fewer tradespeople, and many will not increase employee hours.

Despite the dip in growth in northern B.C., the overall outlook is positive. The survey suggests that on average:

  • 48 per cent of companies will see an increase in work, and 46 per cent of companies are expecting the same workload as they did in 2015.
  • 42 per cent of companies will hire new tradespeople in 2016 to deal with the projected increase. This trend remains consistent over the past three years.
  • Companies across B.C.’s Interior, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island are expecting wages to rise 3 per cent in 2016, continuing the trend for upward growth. Many businesses will increase the hours of existing employees.
  • Wage ranges for construction trades have consistently risen since 2013.
  • 80 per cent of companies surveyed will employ apprentices, up 5 per cent from last year, and half will pay for at least part of the apprentices’ tuition.

Companies will continue to offer generous benefits packages, with 90 per cent covering all or part of the costs for their hourly employees. Half of the construction companies surveyed pay bonuses to their hourly employees, while 41 per cent provide upgrading or training allowances, and a quarter pay tool and clothing allowances.

Since 2014, ICBA has conducted a wage and benefits survey that forecasts the construction industry in B.C. and provides insights towards changes in the sector. The respondents are comprised of ICBA members who cover every region in B.C., representing all construction trades and company sizes. A summary of the survey is released online, while the comprehensive and detailed results are provided exclusively to ICBA members, available here.

 

About ICBA (www.icba.ca) The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C. services and represents B.C.’s construction sector. ICBA’s 1,200 members build in every construction sectors and are involved in virtually all major capital projects in British Columbia.

About Sentis Market Research (www.sentissurvey.com) Sentis Market Reseach is an independent, Vancouver-based research company that ICBA commissioned to conduct the 2016 Wage & Benefits Survey. The respondents are comprised of ICBA members, and construction companies all across B.C.

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