The construction industry is booming, and there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight for the growing demand.
Globally, the construction industry is expected to be worth $10.5 trillion in the next five years, and as the need for all types of construction continues to accelerate, more construction jobs are naturally opening up. In September alone, the Labor Department reported that 23,000 new jobs were made available.
While the demand for construction development is forward-looking, the labor part of the equation isn’t as bright, as the industry is experiencing an ongoing labor scarcity, which has been a recurring topic of conversation for quite some time. New jobs are continuing to pop up, but a large amount of those openings are remaining unfilled.
One of the reasons there is such a lingering lack of construction talent is because young workers simply aren’t joining the industry. A survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders Association set out to investigate how 18-25 year olds perceive careers in construction. Nearly 75% of survey participants stated they already knew the career paths they wanted to take, but only 3% expressed interest in the construction trade.
These participants were asked why they weren’t willing to consider the industry. A few of the prominent reasons given were they wanted a less physically demanding career, they felt construction work was hard, they’d rather work in an office, they wanted to make more money than they thought was possible with a construction career, they wanted a career where a college degree was necessary, and they wanted a career that utilized modern technology.
These reasons above illustrate that there is still an oversimplified, narrow stereotype of what it means to work in the construction industry. Construction is one of the most diverse fields out there, but ill-informed myths and over-generalizations may be keeping young people from exploring the abundant career opportunities available within it.
The best way to combat myths is by taking the time to understand where they come from and then deconstruct them. Whether you’re an employer looking to hire construction talent or a young worker considering your career options, it will help your cause to clear up these common myths about careers in construction:
The construction industry is comprised of a myriad of positions that require varying degrees of skill and experience, which naturally results in a wide range of pay scales. As with any field, entry-level positions pay less than executive roles (though the labor shortage is resulting in higher wages all across the spectrum), but there are abundant opportunities for entry level workers to move up the ladder over time and increase their pay.
The truth is that construction careers can be extremely lucrative. Certain positions, such as VP of operations and construction project managers, can easily bring in over $100,000 annually.
There are also many positions, such as plumbers and electricians, that bring in $50,000 or more per year. This is especially impressive when you consider that quite a few of these jobs only require apprenticeships, on-site experience, or specialized training in place of expensive college degrees.
The reality is that there is a numerous amount of differing salary options in the industry, and many of these salaries are seamlessly in line with the goal of someone who wants to make a comfortable living.
While a large portion of construction work does involve physical labor, there are sectors in the industry that are, for the most part, desk-based jobs. Many workers find building and construction to be fulfilling, but for those who are not interested in that line of work, it helps to remember that a construction project begins long before a work-site is even constructed.
Someone has to design the buildings, scope out possible work-sites, estimate costs, budget out expenses, and coordinate the project details before any actual constructing can commence. The point is that there are plenty of avenues available for those who are interested in the industry but aren’t fans of manual labor.
It’s no secret that there are some potential hazards when it comes to on-site construction work, but modern regulations and technological advancements, such as drones and wearables, and enhanced safety features on equipment and personal protection help to reduce common risk factors. In fact, some of the most modern technology is being developed for and used by those in the construction industry, specifically focusing on reducing hazards and making the construction process more efficient.
Many employers take steps beyond the standard compliance regulations by hosting regular safety meetings, consistently advancing and monitoring safety training standards, and creating in-depth risk management programs. A large part of risk reduction is dependent on the workers themselves following all standard safety procedures.
As stated above, there are also a wide variety of career opportunities that don’t involve regular attendance at a job-site or the operation of heavy tools and machinery, meaning that typical construction hazards don’t apply to every available career option.
One common misconception is that a career in construction doesn’t allow for much upward momentum when, in reality, there is ample room for employees at all levels to advance their careers.
Because there is such a vast array of career trajectories in the industry, being stuck in a stagnant position isn’t a real threat at all. An entry-level worker can commit to progressing their skills by earning an advanced license, certificate, or degree. Some firms even provide advanced training to interested parties who want to move on to higher roles.
Experience is also an ideal tool for someone looking to move up the ladder. In fact, many construction managers started as entry-level workers, and through their hard-earned experience and finely tuned skills, they have gradually moved on to executive positions. Additionally, some construction workers gain valuable experience and then move on to starting and operating their own businesses.
Through hard work and a willingness to take advantage of opportunities designed to expand and advance skills, individuals can take charge of how far they go in the industry.
Many people believe that the construction industry is designed for those who aren’t interested in acquiring traditional college degrees, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. While there are plenty of lucrative and fulfilling career avenues available for those who focus on vocational schools or apprenticeships, there is a substantial amount of positions where a degree is either required or strongly preferred.
Degrees relating to construction management, business management, engineering, economics, architecture, and business administration are especially useful and necessary, and having one will often help a job seeker stand out in executive positions, whether or not a degree is required.
Misconceptions about the industry may be preventing young job seekers from finding careers that are both lucrative and fulfilling, which in turn leaves employers struggling to find the talent they need to fully take advantage of the current boom. Hopefully the above information helps clear up some of the most common myths surrounding careers in construction. The possible career paths are as abundant as they are diverse, and because the industry is growing at such an impressive rate, workers can easily find job security, resulting in the perfect blend of ideal career traits.
For over four decades, S.R. Clarke Consulting Services, Inc. has been helping talented construction executives advance their futures with exciting career opportunities. If you’re a job seeker looking for a change, visit our list of current available construction jobs to see if anything is a solid match.
We are proudly assisting growing businesses in hiring the construction talent they need to truly prosper. With over 30,000 successful placements, the proof is in our track record. If you’re an employer searching for top construction talent, get in touch with us today to see how we can help you continue to build America.