Construction Trades Helpers and Labourers

(NOC 7611)

in All Trades and Transportation

Construction trades helpers and labourers help skilled tradespersons and do labouring activities at construction sites, in quarries and in surface mines. They work for construction companies, trade and labour contractors, and surface mine and quarry operators.

Job Outlook

Average

Read more

  • Estimate Moderate growth employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 215 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate High rate of unemployment in 2019

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

  • Estimate 205 employment change, 2019-2021
  • Estimate 4385 openings due to growth and retirements, 2018-2020
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

At the outset of the pandemic in March, a large portion of workers in this occupation was laid off. Private worksites had to adjust to physical distancing restrictions, leading to the suspension of work on some projects and general uncertainty about the state of the construction industry. Disrupted supply chains caused a large increase in material prices, rendering some planned projects uneconomical. An influx of people moving to the province, a surge of interest in home renovations, and an exceptionally tight housing market provided a major boost to residential construction activity. This trend appears to have overwhelmed the negative effects experienced earlier in the pandemic. In some areas of the province, COVID-19 has made a pre-existing shortage of construction trades helpers and labourers worse. As the Public Health Protection Act Order remains in effect, some labourers are working with personal protective equipment (PPE).

Like other construction occupations, there has been an increase in demand for helpers and labourers which is expected to rise even further in 2021. However, there is a relatively large supply of unemployed jobseekers in this occupation, creating the potential to meet this demand. Employers have indicated difficulty in attracting and retaining labourers. This occupation is physically demanding and often involves long hours, leading to high rates of turnover and absenteeism. An individual able to cope with these conditions and show up reliably should find employment with relative ease.

The median employment income for the 23% of Construction Trades Helpers and Labourers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $36,256. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, the 59% of those who worked full-time, year-round had a median employment income of $43,600. (Source: 2016 Census)

Hourly Pay

$12.95

Minimum

$17.00

Median

$29.28

Maximum

Annual Pay

$5,083

Minimum

$23,821

Median

$58,819

Maximum

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

Hourly Pay

$13.50

Minimum

$27.25

Median

$35.50

Maximum

Annual Pay

$7,580

Minimum

$37,269

Median

$79,787

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

Construction trades helpers and labourers help skilled tradespersons and do labouring activities at construction sites, in quarries and in surface mines. They work for construction companies, trade and labour contractors, and surface mine and quarry operators.

Job duties

Construction trades helpers and labourers:

  • Load and unload construction materials and move materials to work areas.
  • Build and take down concrete forms, scaffolding, ramps, catwalks, shoring and barriers needed at construction sites.
  • Mix, pour and spread materials like concrete and asphalt.
  • Help tradespersons like carpenters, bricklayers, cement finishers, roofers and glaziers in construction activities.
  • Help heavy equipment operators to secure special attachments to equipment, signal operators to guide them in moving equipment and provide help in other activities.
  • Help line up pipes and do related activities during oil and gas pipeline construction.
  • Help in drilling and blasting rock at construction sites.
  • Help miners in excavating and in setting up and operating drills and other surface mining machinery.
  • Level earth to fine grade specifications using rake and shovel.
  • Help demolish buildings using prying bars and other tools, and sort, clean and pile salvaged materials.
  • Remove rubble and other debris at construction sites using rakes, shovels, wheelbarrows and other equipment.
  • Use air hammers, vibrators and tampers as directed.
  • Tend or feed machines or equipment used in construction like mixers, compressors and pumps.
  • Clean up chemical spills and other contaminants and remove asbestos and other hazardous materials.
  • Oil and grease hoists and similar equipment.
  • Direct traffic at or near construction sites.
  • Complete other activities at construction sites, as directed.

Sample job titles

  • asphalt spreader
  • bricklayer helper
  • carpenter helper
  • concrete mixer helper
  • concrete paving labourer
  • construction craft worker
  • construction helper
  • construction labourer
  • demolition worker
  • driller helper - surface mining
  • drywall sander
  • excavation labourer
  • flagman/woman
  • glazier helper
  • pipeline mandrel operator
  • plumber helper
  • roofer helper
  • stabber - pipeline construction

Skills

You need good health, physical stamina and strength. Agility, coordination, and a mechanical ability would be helpful. You must be able to take direction and be able to follow instructions given by a supervisor.

Job requirements

  • Some high school education may be required.
  • On-the-job training is provided.
  • Some experience as a general construction labourer may be needed for construction trade helpers.
  • Some pipeline workers, like stabbers, mandrel operators and pre-heater tenders, usually need one season of experience in oil and gas pipeline construction.
  • Flagmen/women may need a traffic control certificate.
  • Red Seal certification is available for qualified construction craft workers.

Other considerations

Most construction trades helpers and labourers work full-time, but often for only part of the year because this work is highly seasonal. Some experience as a general construction labourer may be required for construction trade helpers and some pipeline workers like stabbers, mandrel operators and pre-heater tenders, usually require one season of experience in oil and gas pipeline construction. Movement is possible among workers in this unit group.

By the numbers

Quick look

6,365

employed in 2016

83.1%

employed full-time

4.0%

self employed

8.8%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
91.2%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
40

median age

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

57,925

employed in 2016

85.9%

employed full-time

11.8%

self employed

5.3%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
94.7%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
46.8

median age

Where will I likely work?

35.4%

Halifax

19.6%

Cape Breton

18.1%

North Shore

16.3%

Annapolis Valley

10.4%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

North Shore

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

76.0%

Construction

5.3%

Transportation and warehousing

4.1%

Manufacturing

3.9%

Administrative and support, waste management and remediation services

2.4%

Public administration

What is the age of Employment?

23.0%

15-24

21.0%

45-54

21.0%

25-34

17.0%

55-64

14.0%

35-44

4.0%

65+

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

24.4%

45-54

22.1%

55-64

17.7%

35-44

17.7%

25-34

10.9%

15-24

Top levels of education

39.7%

High school

$22,732 median annual income
29.3%

Less than high school

$22,935 median annual income
15.5%

Apprenticeship

$30,766 median annual income
12.2%

College Diploma

$28,039 median annual income
2.0%

Bachelor

$22,509 median annual income

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

29.2%

Apprenticeship

$46,494 median annual income
25.5%

High school

$31,260 median annual income
22.3%

College Diploma

$42,050 median annual income
18.7%

Less than high school

$28,319 median annual income
2.8%

Bachelor

$30,527 median annual income

Education & training

Adult High School Siploma or Equivalent

High School Program

The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) administers, coordinates, and supports the development and delivery of adult education programs through learning partners in Nova Scotia. Our learning partners include the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations that offer tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED, empowering Nova Scotians to achieve their learning and employment goals.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College - Adult Learning

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Building Construction Technology

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to apply technical knowledge and skills to residential and commercial building construction and remodeling. They include courses in construction equipment and safety, site preparation and layout, construction estimating, blueprint reading, building codes, framing, masonry, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, electrical and mechanical systems, interior and exterior finishing, and plumbing.

Institutions providing this program

Maritime Environmental Training Institute

Sydney, NS

Carpenter Millwright College (CMC) Inc.

Lower Sackville, NS

Construction Trades

College or Trades Program

These programs prepare students to apply technical knowledge and skills in the building, inspecting, and maintaining of structures and related properties. They include courses in masonry, carpentry, electrical and power transmission installation, building/construction finishing, management, inspection and other construction-related applications.

Institutions providing this program

Maritime Environmental Training Institute

Sydney, NS

Dexter Institute

Bedford, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Construction Craft Worker

Certificate of Qualification (Voluntary): This job is a designated trade in Nova Scotia. Employers may require certification, but a certificate is not needed to legally do this work.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
1256 Barrington Street, 3rd Fl, Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651

Contacts

Nova Scotia Construction Safety Council
Dartmouth, NS
BuildForce Canada
Ottawa, ON
Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council
Halifax, NS