PEI’s Construction Industry Challenged by Baby Boomer Exodus Up to 26 Percent of Workforce Retiring This Decade

January 31, 2017

As many as 1,500 construction workers are needed this decade to keep pace with major projects, an upswing in new home building and the rapid rise in retirements, according to the latest labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

“Baby boomers are leaving PEI’s construction industry in such rapid succession that it’s getting harder to replace them,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “Countering the loss of 26 percent of the workforce over the next ten years is a real challenge when retirees already exceed the number of local youth expected to enter the workforce”

BuildForce Canada’s 2017-2026 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast shows moderate job growth in residential and non-residential construction over the next decade. The strongest gains in both sectors are anticipated over the next five years, with the addition of 600 new jobs. Institutional and commercial building rises steadily to 2022 while industrial building remains stable. A transmission project, significant road, highway and bridgework sustain engineering employment at high levels before receding after 2020. New housing demands rise over the next five years, driven by steady levels of immigration. As residential activity declines, non-residential construction sustains employment above current levels.

BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows:

  • Rising residential construction creates up to 400 jobs between now and 2022 before receding back to 2016 employment levels;
  • Renovation activity declines in the short term before resuming growth over the long term;
  • Non-residential construction employment, including maintenance, is expected to rise 10 percent, adding 250 jobs over the forecast period.

 “Steady recruitment and training is a must to help build PEI’s construction workforce,” added Sparks. “As the pool of local younger workers gets smaller, industry will need to stay focused on recruiting from other industries or outside the province.”

BuildForce Canada is a national industry-led organization that represents all sectors of Canada’s construction industry. Its mandate is to provide accurate and timely labour market data and analysis, as well as programs and initiatives to help manage workforce requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance workforce. Visit:

For further information, contact: Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, or (905)-852-9186

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program