Building a Case for Careers in Ottawa’s Home Building Industry

A Campaign for Careers in Home Building

Greater Ottawa Homebuilders' Association’s Campaign to Promote Careers in the Trades.

Like in many other places, the homebuilding sector in Ottawa is facing or, more accurately, already in a perfect storm of growing market and consumer demand and a shrinking pool of skilled workers.

Demand for new homes and home renovations is growing, while many experienced tradespeople are inching closer to retirement. 

Put simply, not enough people have been entering the workforce to replace older workers, let alone meet the growing demand for new homes and home renos. Simplifying the situation belies the fact that this is a complex issue that concerns not just the building industry but also governments at every level. 

According to a report by BuildForce Canada in 2021, the Canadian construction industry could face a shortage of 308,000 workers by 2030.

Finding skilled labour in the residential construction industry is a serious challenge and is becoming more serious every month. When builders and renovators face challenges in recruiting and retaining skilled workers, including carpenters, plumbers, and electricians, it can lead to project delays and increased labour costs.

In the Spring of 2022, we began collaborating with the Greater Ottawa Home Builders' Association (GOHBA) to help them develop a comprehensive marketing strategy to promote rewarding careers in residential construction. 

"McGill Buckley brought strategy and creativity to a critically important marketing project for GOHBA members and delivered messaging, positioning, and a visually striking campaign which resonates with our audiences."

- Greater Ottawa Homebuilders' Association

    Our marketing strategy for GOHBA had three primary goals:

    Marketing Goal #1: 

    Promote the many benefits of working in skilled trades and trade career opportunities in residential construction in the Ottawa Region.

    Marketing Goal #2: 

    Increase inquiries and registration in skilled trades training programs and job openings with GOHBA members.

    Marketing Goal #3: 

    Facilitate meaningful connections between GOHBA members, partner organizations, and prospective skilled trades candidates.

    Collaborating toward meeting our goals.

    Working directly with their Trades Development Initiative (TDI) Committee and Executive Director, we laid out a multi-phase process starting with industry research, stakeholder engagement, discovery sessions and interviews with people working in the trades. Over the course of the project, we regularly met with and presented to the committee to update them and receive feedback on campaign messaging, strategies, tactics and key deliverables. 

    Understanding our audiences through interviews.

    Over the summer, we interviewed GOHBA members and a cross-section of people working in residential construction, ranging from carpenters and electricians to project managers and designers. We included early-career workers as well as mid-career and late-career workers. We also interviewed education and training partners, including Algonquin College. 

    Messaging to drive the campaign.

    Once we had gotten feedback and presented our recommendations to GOHBA, we rolled out a comprehensive campaign messaging platform that positioned the exciting opportunities in residential construction, as well as the key benefits that we believed would generate interest in a range of audiences from high school students to people looking for a career change. 

    Launching the My Future is Building Campaign.

    Once the campaign messaging was approved, we developed the look and feel of the campaign and applied it to the foundational elements of the campaign, including a website that would provide information on careers in residential construction, links to training partners and a job board for GOHBA members. We also developed content for social media channels.