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

Good

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  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 515 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate High rate of unemployment in 2022

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

  • Estimate 4040 employment change, 2021-2023
  • Estimate 8425 openings due to growth and retirements, 2021-2023
  • Estimate rate of unemployment not available for these occupation.

Size of the occupation in Nova Scotia: large with regular job opportunities.
Demand: Approximately 285 opportunities are estimated for Halifax, and 205 outside Halifax. Employment growth will lead to several new positions. Some positions will become available due to employee turnover. There are several unemployed workers with recent experience in this occupation. Employment can be seasonal with more opportunities in the summer months. A moderate number of positions will become available due to retirements.
Work hours: full-time, usually. Both permanent and temporary positions are common.

Due to the high level of activity in the construction industry, demand for unskilled labourer positions is currently strong. Some contractors have experienced difficulties with recruitment and retention. The need for construction labourers has led to some competition among employers, so candidates may have a variety of options at different wage levels. Possession of a vehicle is a common requirement for this occupation and may be a barrier to some jobseekers.

Hourly Pay

$13.35

Minimum

$19.00

Median

$30.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$5,083

Minimum

$23,821

Median

$58,819

Maximum

Compared to: All Trades and Transportation

Hourly Pay

$15.00

Minimum

$24.00

Median

$37.00

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
  • flagperson
  • glazier helper
  • pipeline mandrel operator
  • plumber helper
  • roofer helper
  • stabber - pipeline construction

Skills

  • Strength and stamina
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Manual dexterity
  • A safety-conscious attitude
  • Ability to work as a team
  • Ability to take direction and follow instructions given by a supervisor
  • Organizational, leadership, problem-solving, and document interpretation skills are assets for anyone wanting to progress in this occupation.

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.
  • Trade Qualifier option for construction craft workers, 5,400 hours, and other criteria.
  • Certification for construction craft workers is voluntary in Nova Scotia.
  • Write and score a minimum of 70% on the Red Seal exam for construction craft workers.
  • Red Seal Endorsement (RSE) allows for interprovincial mobility.

Other considerations

  • Construction craft worker is a Red Seal trade. They prepare and clean up construction sites, move materials and equipment, and do demolition, excavating, and compacting activities.
  • Construction trades helpers and labourers work outdoors in all weather conditions. They are often required to work at heights, over water, and in confined spaces and excavations. The job setting may be in densely populated urban areas or at remote locations. They often work overtime during peak construction periods.
  • Most work full-time, but often for only part of the year because this work is highly seasonal.
  • There is some risk of injury when working at construction sites. Workers must wear safety gear and follow safety programs and legislation.
  • Experienced construction craft workers may advance to supervisory or foreman roles.
  • With experience, construction craft workers who complete additional training may specialize in different areas of construction. This can include operating off-road vehicles, drilling, blasting, scaling, sandblasting, high-pressure washing, diving, tunneling, and performing an emergency rescue. Another common responsibility is the management of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

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

$24,764 median annual income
19.6%

Cape Breton

$28,103 median annual income
18.1%

North Shore

$23,552 median annual income
16.3%

Annapolis Valley

$23,150 median annual income
10.4%

Southern

$18,882 median annual income

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%

Trade Certification

$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%

Trade Certification

$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

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

High School Diploma or Equivalent

High School Program

Adults without a high school diploma can contact the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL) for tuition-free programming across the province. NSSAL oversees adult education programs in Nova Scotia. NSSAL partners with the Nova Scotia Community College, Adult High Schools, Université Sainte-Anne, and community-based learning organizations to deliver programs. NSSAL offers clear, accessible pathways from adult basic education to a high school credential or GED.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS

Nova Scotia Community College

Various, NS

Adult High Schools

Various, NS

Community Learning Organizations

Various, NS

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Construction Craft Worker

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

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
Halifax, NS

Contacts

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

Additional resources