WRLA conducts Labour Market Survey in partnership with the Government of Alberta

Labour challenges have been identified as the number one pain point for the Building Supply Sector in recent years. In order for WRLA, a key industry association for the sector, to address challenges and bridge gaps with programs and services, data that illuminate the key challenges and gaps are essential. While the sector is critical to both local and overall economies, very little statistical information about it exists. This study, conducted in partnership with the government of Alberta aims to fill this gap.

The purpose of this study was to address this gap by examining sector employment and estimating thenumber of workers that will be needed to fill vacancies, meet employment growth and replace workers wholeave the sector due to retirement or to work in other non-building supply sector industries, over the next fiveyears. This study also looked at key challenges to recruitment and retention faced by sector employers.

Between 2017 and 2023, and despite the significant negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alberta experienced overall growth in new building investment, renovation investment, property conversion and newhousing starts. Alberta’s building supply sector comprises approximately 2,126 establishments, representing approximately 28,500 employees. The sector workforce is primarily composed of males aged between
25 and 44 years.

Across Alberta’s building supply workforce, vacancies accounted for between 1% and 5%, with higher vacancy rates among general store staff and other related sector occupations. Employers estimated that the majority of their departing employees will opt to leave the sector altogether, rather than transitioning to otheremployment within the sector.

In addition, over the next five years the average anticipated rate of retirement is estimated to be 19%. At the same time, the majority of employers expect to see an increase of approximately 10%-15% in the overall size of their workforce. Based on an estimated increase in the total number of workers of 10%, the overall annual growth rate of Alberta’s building supply sector is estimated to be 2.5% over the next five years.

In order to fill current vacancies and meet forecast sector growth, findings from this study indicate that 8,918 new employees will be required over the next five years, which equates to about 1,780 employees per year.

Read the full survey here (member-exclusive link)