Finding a Construction Job in Alberta, Canada: An In-Depth Guide

Date: 22 Dec 2023

In the heart of Canada, where the majestic Rockies meet vast prairies, lies a land of untapped potential: Alberta. A province not just rich in natural beauty but also booming with construction opportunities.

It's worth noting that Alberta is set to be at the forefront of Canada's construction industry growth in the next decade. This isn't just about construction jobs in Alberta. It's about building careers that stand as tall as the skyscrapers dotting Calgary's skyline.

Whether you're a seasoned constructor eyeing a move to Alberta or a local tradesperson looking for your next big break, this article is your essential guide. By the end, you'll not only understand what makes Alberta a construction hotspot but also how to secure your place in it.

Get ready to don your hard hat and explore the opportunities that await in Alberta's vibrant construction landscape.


Alberta's Construction Market: Trends and Jobs

The construction industry is a significant contributor to the province's economy. The sector is characterized by its split between the thriving non-residential segment and a more volatile residential segment.

Major projects have been driving the non-residential construction boom. Many of these projects include:

  • Road
  • Highway
  • Health
  • Education
  • Commercial
  • Industrial
  • Public-transportation

Alongside growth in the oil and gas sector.

However, the residential sector faces challenges with declining demand for new housing. This dichotomy reflects the industry's resilience and its adaptation to changing economic landscapes.

Alberta's construction sector is a substantial employment provider, tasked with replacing a significant portion of its workforce due to retirements by 2027, thus creating opportunities for new entrants in the field.


Types of Construction Jobs in Alberta

The Alberta construction sector offers a diverse range of job opportunities, reflecting the varied needs of these industries.

In the non-residential construction sector, employment is expected to grow, supported by a range of projects. Notable among these are infrastructure developments and investments in renewable energy, like wind and solar farms.

High-profile projects, such as the Springbank off-stream reservoir and the provincial Broadband Strategy, are set to create thousands of jobs. The construction phase of carbon capture and storage projects, anticipated between 2025 and 2030, will also require a significant number of workers.

While the residential construction sector is slowing down, it still maintains a level of demand. Employment in this sector is predicted to decline over the coming years but will remain above pre-pandemic levels.

Alberta's construction industry is grappling with a notable labor shortage, particularly for trade helpers and laborers. In 2022, the job vacancy rate in construction increased significantly, indicating a high demand for workers in these roles.

There are growing job openings for skilled workers in specific trades such as:

  • Boilermakers
  • Carpenters
  • Glaziers
  • Insulators
  • Powerline technicians
  • Welders

The industry is focusing on attracting a more diverse workforce, including:

  • Women
  • Indigenous people
  • Newcomers to Canada

This will aid in addressing future worker shortages and labor force needs.

As the construction workforce in Alberta ages, the industry is looking to attract younger workers to fill the upcoming gaps. This effort is crucial to mitigate future labor shortages and sustain the industry's growth.


Qualifications, Skills, and Certification

To work in construction in Alberta, the qualifications vary depending on the specific role and trade. For many entry-level positions, some experience as a general construction laborer may be required.

For more specialized roles, one season of experience in oil and gas pipeline construction is often necessary. These careers in construction include:

  • Stabbers
  • Pipeline workers
  • Mandrel operators
  • Pre-heater tenders

On-the-job training is commonly provided for many roles in the construction industry.

Construction craft workers need a wide range of skills. These include:

  • Moving construction tools and materials
  • Removing debris
  • Excavating
  • Backfilling
  • Concrete mixing and pouring
  • Installing roofing systems
  • Among others

The work mainly takes place outdoors in all weather conditions and often involves physical strength to lift heavy materials. Safety is a critical aspect of all construction roles, requiring workers to follow safety programs and wear appropriate gear.

In Alberta, certain construction roles are regulated. Workers may need a professional license from a regulatory authority before starting work. The need for licensing can be either compulsory or voluntary, depending on the occupation.

It's important to check if a specific construction occupation is regulated and understand the certification process. The regulatory body for Construction Craft Workers in Alberta is Alberta Advanced Education, Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT).


Specific Certifications

Several certifications are highly valuable or required for specific construction jobs in Alberta. These include:

  • OSSA Fall Protection
    • Designed for workers working at heights
  • OSSA Confined Space Entry & Monitor
    • For those working in or around confined spaces
  • OSSA Elevated Work Platform
    • For those operating or working on elevated work platforms
  • Ground Disturbance II
    • Required for those involved in ground disturbance activities
  • Pipeline Construction Safety Training (PCST)
    • Often a pre-entry requirement for pipeline sites
  • H2S Alive
    • Essential for workers on live H2S sites, focusing on hydrogen sulfide safety

Workers looking to join the Alberta construction industry should research job postings for positions of interest to understand the specific requirements for those roles.

For regulated professions, it's also important to get in touch with the relevant regulatory bodies for detailed information on the licensing process.


Salary Insights and Workplace Culture

In Alberta's construction sector, salaries for roles like construction trades helpers and laborers average around $25.02 hourly or approximately $48,346 annually. These figures can vary based on the specific job and the worker's experience level.

The industry emphasizes a strong culture of safety, where adherence to rigorous safety standards and the use of protective gear is paramount. This culture is underpinned by values of teamwork and responsibility, focusing on efficient work while prioritizing the health and safety of all workers.


Securing Your Future in Alberta's Construction Industry

As we've explored, construction jobs in Alberta offer a world of opportunity, from competitive salaries to a culture deeply rooted in safety and teamwork. Alberta's dynamic construction industry is ripe with possibilities for career growth and development.

Looking to navigate this promising landscape? SSA Group is your ideal partner in this journey. SSA Group stands out for their deep industry connections and a commitment to helping individuals like you find the right construction job that aligns with your skills and aspirations.

Ready to build your career in Alberta's construction industry? Connect with SSA Group today.

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