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Ironworkers (NOC 7236) may also be called:

  • metal building systems erector
  • structural metal fabricator & fitter
  • ornamental ironworker
  • reinforcing ironworker
  • structural steel erector

What Would I Do?

You make, install, and repair structural ironwork, precast concrete, concrete reinforcing materials, ornamental iron and other metals used in the construction of buildings, bridges, highways, and other structures and equipment.

As an Ironworker, your duties can include:

  • read blueprints and specifications to lay out work
  • unload and position steel units so each piece can be hoisted as needed
  • put up and install scaffolding, hoisting equipment and rigging
  • set up structural and architectural precast concrete and metal components for buildings, and other structures
  • install ornamental and other structural metalwork such as curtain walls, metal stairways, railings and power doors

More information:

Am I Suited For This Job?

You should be:

  • strong & physically fit
  • comfortable with heights

You should have:

  • good hand-eye coordination
  • good vision
  • agility and good balance

You work outdoors in all kinds of weather and the work is physically demanding. You often work at extreme heights, using safety devices such as safety belts, scaffolding, and nets.

Sources: WorkBC Career Profile for IronworkersCareer Cruising database (Profile for ‘Ironworker’)

What Are The Wages And Benefits?

The median annual salary for ironworkers working full-time in BC is $70,910.

JobBank Canada provides the hourly wages for Ironworkers in BC regions:

Hourly wages for ironworkers in BC regions

Source: Job Bank Canada Wage Report

The pay can be quite good. However, due to the seasonal nature of ironwork, there can be long stretches of unemployment.

Many ironworkers are members of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, which means your wages and benefits are negotiated by union representatives. Very few ironworkers are self-employed.

Sources: WorkBC & Career Cruising

What Is The Job Outlook In BC?

BuildForce Canada forecasts that job prospects in BC will be “balanced” (employers are recruiting qualified workers) to “very good” (employers are actively recruiting and may be competing for qualified workers) over the next 5 years.

Employment Outlook

employment outlook
Chart from WorkBC
Sources: WorkBC Career Profile,  Careers in Construction (BuildForce Canada)

How Do I Become an Ironworker?

Ironworker is an Inter-provincially recognized Red Seal trade. With a Red Seal, you can work in this trade anywhere in Canada.

Trade certification is not mandatory to be an ironworker in B.C., but it will likely increase your job opportunities. You can become certified by completing a two to three year apprenticeship program through BC’s Industry Training Authority (ITA).

Once you complete the apprenticeship program and successfully pass the Interprovincial Red Seal exam (the final exam for this trade), you become certified as an ironworker. You also automatically receive the Red Seal endorsement.

Challenge Certification/Recognition of Prior Experience:

If you have significant work experience as an ironworker but have never been certified in Canada, you may apply to challenge the certification. This includes completing a specific number of hours of work in the trade and successfully writing the Interprovincial Red Seal exam.

More information:

How Do I Find A Job?

Where Would I Work?

Ironworkers work for:

  • construction ironwork contractors
  • large construction companies
  • large manufacturing companies

Finding Advertised Jobs

Jobs are advertised in a variety of sources including newspapers, magazines and online job sites.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and, in The Province on Sundays.

Online Job Postings

Finding “Hidden Jobs”

Many job vacancies are not advertised. The resources below will help you with finding jobs in this “hidden” job market.

Using Directories to Create a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of employers who are in this industry. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • BC Construction Association
    Search the members’ directories for: Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Southern Interior,  and Northern Regional
  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “Ironwork” and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Networking, Volunteering and Temporary Agencies

Many positions are filled by people who have been recommended by someone they know. Networking, working as a volunteer or registering with a temporary employment agency are good ways of helping you find jobs and meet people in your industry.

Networking and the Hidden Job Market:

When looking for work, be sure to talk to friends, relatives and neighbours. They may know someone who is hiring! Working as a volunteer, attending events, and joining clubs and associations are good ways to gain “Canadian experience.” They are also good ways to meet people to learn about the local job market.

Volunteer opportunities

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your experience.

Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

For more information see:

Where Can This Job Lead?

Ironworkers usually start at apprentice level then can move up to journeyperson. With enough experience as a journeyperson, you can progress to being a supervisor or foreperson

Source: Career Cruising database (Profile for ‘Ironworker’).

Where Can I Find More Information?

  • Ironworkers Local 97,
    International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers
  • Ironworkers Local 712,
    International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers