Welcome to the WEdata Sector Blog Series where we review the supply and demand of labour for each of the region’s top sectors of employment. To read more blogs like this, visit wfwe.elev8webstudio.com/sectors.



The Construction (NAICS #23), Mining (NAICS #22), and Utilities (NAICS #21) sectors together make up 9.5% (3,114) of businesses in region. Construction is by far the largest with 2,974 (8.9%), while Utilities has 119 and Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction has 21 businesses. These sectors employ approximately 11, 305 workers or 6.3% of the total workforce in Windsor-Essex.  

Organization Size: Fifty-seven percent (57%) of businesses in Construction and Mining, and 90% in Utilities are owner-operated with no employees. Of the 1297 businesses with employees, 97% are very small with 1-4 employees, and remaining 3% or 41 businesses employ between 50 and 499 workers.   

Demographics:  The female to male gender ratio is approximately 1:9 in these sectors. Utilities has the highest proportion of women with 26%, followed by 13% in Construction of Buildings and in Support activities for mining, oil, and gas. In the three sectors, 92% of self-employed workers and 73% of unpaid family workers are male.  

While half the workforce in all three sectors is between 35-54 years old. Of the three sectors, Construction has the youngest workforce with 33% under 34 years old and 20% over 55 years old. The Mining sector has an older workforce with only 20% under 34 and 34% over 55 years old. Utilities falls in between the other two with 26% of its workforce under 34 and slightly more than 20% of workers over 55 years old.

Work Activity and Income: The median income for full-year, full-time worker in Mining is $95.7, Utilities is $90.1K, and Construction is $50.4K, which are all well above the national median income of $36.5K. Utilities and Mining workers who worked part year, part-time or full-time earned $50.3K and $85K which is still well over the national median income. In contrast, Construction workers earned significantly less than the national median when employed full year, part-time ($14.8K) and part-year, full-time or part-time ($23.8K).  

Education and Income: Over 80% of Utilities workers, about 70% of Mining workers, and 50% of Construction workers have post-secondary, including apprenticeship, college, and university qualifications.  The incomes of workers with these qualifications is higher than for those with high school or less than high school.

Mining and Utilities are lucrative sectors with incomes more than double the national median income for full-year, full-time workers, and higher than the median even those who work part year.

Retirement: National projected Sector Retirement rates to the year 2026 ranges from 3.7% in Support activities for mining, oil and gas extraction to 4.5% in Utilities. Construction, as the biggest employer, is expected to have over 400 retirements each year until 2026. Generally, Occupational Retirement rates in these sectors are close to the national rate projected of 2%. Mining-related occupations are slightly under 2% and while the rate for Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics is about 3.2%. According to the Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) data the national median retirement age for Mining workers is around 66 years old, and for Construction and Utilities is about 63 years old.

Education and Training: The Enrollment by Institution page shows how many students are enrolled in post-secondary programs at colleges and universities across Ontario. Organisations and businesses can search for the programs and institutions that they recruit and hire graduates from to see recent enrollment numbers for specific programs and institutions. Many employers in the Construction, Utilities, and Mining sectors and other sectors are concerned about the supply of skilled workers for their industry. Those businesses that want to attract the best and brightest talent are wise to be proactive and build relationships with education and training institutions and their instructors. Going even further to develop onsite opportunities for cooperative education and internship placements for students also gives employers an opportunity to test-drive potential employees. Everyone benefits. Local employers in this sector strongly believe that apprenticeships and other practical experiences will draw students into this sector. Youth apprenticeships (OYAP) and general apprenticeships offer great methods of training and allow students to earn money while they train and attend in-class lessons.

Automation: These projections indicate how much of a given occupation’s work activities could be automated. They reflect automation predictions that routine activities, such as predictable physical work and processing and collecting data, are more susceptible to automation, while those at low risk involve managing people and complex tasks employing expertise. This explains why the probability of automation for the labourers in these three sectors is between 60%-90% while for supervisors it is less than 10%.

While automation may lead to some job losses and task restructuring, it is important to keep in mind that the Talented Mr. Robot report and others have concluded that in actuality less than 5% of occupations could be completely automated. The authors suggest that mitigating the potential negative effects will take collaboration between all sectors to increase understanding of the implications, identify local technological strengths and opportunities, and provide education and training to those whose jobs will be impacted. They also acknowledge that automation in sectors is likely to be slower than initial predictions for multiple reasons, including as prohibitive costs, some technological advances are not occurring as quickly as predicted, and people’s preference that humans rather than machines to perform certain tasks. Local employers have noted that some administrative duties and interactions between customers and managers may be automated.

Local infrastructure projects, such as the Gordie Howe International Bridge project, promises to create thousands of local construction, operations, and spin-off jobs in the next 30 years.  For more information and jobs, go to our Gordie Howe International Bridge Jobs page: https://wfwe.elev8webstudio.com/bridge-jobs/

Consultations conducted with local employers show there is an issue of retention of employees in the construction sector. Employers in our region have stated that it is common for younger employees to not stay longer than one to two years in construction, while some of these newly hired employees only show up to a few days of work before leaving. The learning curve for skills in this industry is often a lengthy process, so it is hard for employers to develop certain skills in their employees with this type of work ethic issue being evident. Local employers have also stated that new infrastructure projects and residential developments in our region will be the deciding factor of whether this sector experiences growth or decline in the future.

Sources: Census 2016; The Talented Mr. Robot (2016).  

Dive into the data of the Online Sector Dashboards at: