The glaring lack of housing, megaprojects in the battery sector and the appetite of Hydro-Québec, which will need 35,000 construction workers in the coming years, are being felt on the ground, where professionals like Philippe Zannoni have no time to be idle.
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“From first year, I worked overtime six days a week for two years. We'll make about $30 an hour,” tells Le Journal Philippe Zannoni, 28, a fire protection mechanic who was found yesterday near a construction site in Brossard, on Montreal's south shore.
“I install the sprinklers, the systems and the pumps,” says the man who is passionate about his job.
Health and construction
In an interview with the Journal, Emna Braham, director general of the Institut du Québec (IDQ), which released its 2023 Quebec employment report today, confirmed that the construction industry will continue to need hands in the coming months.
“There are sectors that worry us: health and construction. There are many projects being planned in Quebec,” she analyses.
Emna Braham, director general of the Institut du Québec (IDQ), notes in her annual report that “the real hourly wage, adjusted for inflation, was higher in 2023 (US$33.02) than before the health crisis (31). .87 US dollars)” in Quebec. Photo provided by the Institut du Québec
“We can talk about breaking down barriers between professions, but we have to go beyond that,” she continues.
On Thursday, Labor Minister Jean Boulet presented his draft law, which is intended to allow more flexibility in professions. This immediately sparked an outcry from several unions, as Le Journal reports.
According to IDQ's Emna Braham, accelerated construction training is welcome to attract new workers, but it will also be necessary to ensure they stay.
“We need to increase productivity, plan our locations well and ensure health and health are guaranteed [la] Security is there,” she believes.
According to the Ministry of Education, as of January 26, 3,554 people were registered for short-term construction training, a number that reaches 4,388 registrations if you take into account the construction training offensive! the targeted DEPs.
4 key elements in employment
Almost every fourth employee is a civil servant
In Quebec, the public sector represents 24% of jobs, an increase of 3% compared to 21% before the pandemic, highlights the IDQ. This gap is 115,000 workers. To explain this movement, the IDQ highlights that sectors hit hardest by COVID-19 (restaurants and retail), with often lower salaries, have been relocated “to areas that remained active during this period, such as health, education and construction.”
Fewer jobs were created last year
“If job creation was good last year, several indicators suggest that these new jobs were generally of less good quality,” the IDQ notes. The number of part-time positions increased to 69,900 between December 2022 and December 2023, while the number of full-time positions fell by 3,200. This is partly due to workers in industries such as accommodations and restaurants returning to work after the pandemic.
More than 221,000 people have multiple jobs
Last year, more than 221,000 people worked multiple jobs to make ends meet. The IDQ notes that this number is similar to pre-pandemic levels. “The economic downturn has forced some workers to take part-time jobs even though they wanted to work full-time. As a result, the number of part-time employees rose sharply last year for economic reasons.”
A construction bottleneck
“There could also be a real bottleneck in the construction sector in the coming years,” warns the IDQ. While a slowdown in the real estate sector is being felt, there remains a severe shortage of housing and the labor shortage will continue to hurt, the organization emphasizes. Megaprojects in the battery sector and Hydro-Québec's recruitment targets will also add additional pressure.
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