Canada’s construction industry is one of a few sectors to be hit hardest by a decade of labour shortages and lower margins, according to a study by the Business Development Bank of Canada.
The study of small- and mid-size businesses found that firms affected by labour shortages are 65 per cent more likely to generate low sales.
Construction, manufacturing and retail trade are most vulnerable, particularly in Atlantic Canada, British Columbia and Ontario.
The survey compiled responses from more than 1,200 entrepreneurs. Nearly six in 10 respondents said fewer employees will mean more work for existing staff, while 27 per cent expect to raise wages.
Hiring challenges are less severe for very small and very large firms, BDC reported, peaking for businesses with 20 to 49 employees and then easing off for firms with more than 100 employees.
The bank recommended developing an employee value proposition, formalizing HR policies, hiring workers from under-represented segments of the labour force and improving operational efficiency.