B.C. engineering firms grow after 2020 contraction

Median employment growth at top firms outpaced average growth over the past year

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Recovering from a decline in 2020, employment in B.C.’s engineering sector is increasing.

According to data collected on Business in Vancouver’s Biggest Engineering Firms in B.C. list (biv.com/lists), the province’s average number of professional engineers grew 3.9% to 123.2 in 2021 from 118.6 in 2020, erasing the contraction of the previous year.

During that same period, the median number of professional engineers in B.C. grew more than four times the average, or by 13.2% to 98.5 in 2021 from 87 in 2020. This growth negated a 9.4% decline in professional engineers in 2020 from 96 in 2019.

The stronger growth performance of the median over the average number of engineers within B.C.’s engineering industry is not unique to 2021. Over the past five years, B.C.’s median number of engineers grew by 22.4%, outpacing the five-year average growth of 7.1% by more than three times.

AECOM (No. 21) recorded the largest decline on the list. It slumped 48.3% to 45 professional engineers in 2021 from 87 in 2020. WSP Canada Inc. (No. 1) boasted the largest growth on the list with a 15.9% increase to 400 engineers in 2021 from 345 in 2020.

Five years ago, WSP ranked third on the list, but its 63.9% increase in engineers over the period, paired with large declines at the companies ranked one and two, vaulted WSP to the No. 1 spot on the list.

Over the past five years, Wood Group PLC (No. 4) suffered a 48.6% decline in professional engineers, and SNC-Lavalin Inc. (No. 2) reported a 28.7% decrease. •