Exploring careers in construction

workingdads.co.uk outlines some of the many roles available in construction and what you need to get them.

Architects using laptop at construction site, one of the careers in the construction industry


Construction is a huge industry that spans everything from architecture and house building to civil engineering and major infrastructure. Careers in constructio offer a wealth of career opportunities, both for those with specific building and engineering skills and those with more diverse qualifications and abilities.

Why seek jobs in the construction industry?

Construction offers good stability because of its essential role in society. Projects are constant and varied. Because the demand for construction stays fairly steady, there tends to be a consistent flow of job opportunities.

There are also skills shortages in this area of the market, so skilled workers are in high demand – which means better pay and more security.

In most construction organisations, there are clear career pathways with room for progression. Entry-level positions can be stepping stones to higher-paying roles that are more specialised or involve leadership.

Working in construction can be particularly rewarding because of the tangible element to the work. A successful project has a visible impact on its community and the environment.

What are the typical jobs in the construction industry?

There are a wide variety of jobs on offer in construction. Typical roles include:

  1. Construction Management. All construction projects are led by a team of project managers and specialists who oversee the entire process from planning to completion. Leadership skills, attention to detail, time management and budget are in great demand for these roles.
  2. Architecture and Design. Architects and designers bring construction visions to life, using digital tools and specialist skills to translate ideas into reality.
  3. Skilled Trades. Skilled trades form the backbone of the construction industry, encompassing professionals such as stonemasons, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and technicians.
  4. Civil Engineering. Civil engineers play a vital role in overseeing the construction of infrastructure projects like roads, bridges and airports. They are responsible for ensuring structural integrity, safety and functionality.
  5. Project Estimation and Cost Management. Careers in project estimation and cost management involve predicting project requirements, materials, labour costs and overhead expenses.
  6. Sustainability. Sustainable construction practices are increasingly important. Careers in this area focus on incorporating eco-friendly materials, energy-efficient designs and green building techniques to meet fast-changing regulatory requirements.
  7. Head office roles. As with any large organisation, construction firms rely on the skills of back office teams in finance, marketing/communications, human resources and other operational fields.

What are the benefits of a Career in Construction?

Some of the key benefits include:

  • Job security: The demand for construction is steady and skilled workers are in high demand, contributing to job security and stability.
  • Competitive pay: Many construction roles offer competitive wages and benefits. Skilled professionals can command high hourly rates due to their specialist expertise.
  • Career progression: Construction provides good pathways for growth into higher-paying roles and leadership positions. Training and professional development further enhance your career prospects.
  • Hands-on work: For those who enjoy working with their hands and seeing tangible results, construction offers the opportunity to build, create, and problem-solve on a daily basis.

What do construction employers look for job applicants?

Employers in the construction sector are looking for people with the right combination of technical skills, practical experience and personal qualities. Typical attributes that employers look for include:

  • Technical skills: There is a well publicised skills gap in construction and demand is high for specialists in carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, welding, masonry, heavy equipment operation and other trades.
  • Experience: Gained through apprenticeships, internships or previous employment, hands-on experience is a big advantage for any candidate.
  • Safety awareness: Safety is paramount in the construction sector, and employers prioritise safety in their practices. Candidates who demonstrate clear commitments to safety and have relevant qualifications are in high demand.
  • Problem-solving skills: Construction projects can present unexpected obstacles that require quick thinking and problem-solving skills to overcome. Employers value employees who can identify issues and propose solutions at speed.
  • Communication Skills: Effective communication is essential for successful collaboration across teams and beyond.
  • Reliability and dependability: Employers seek candidates who are reliable, punctual and dependable, and who can demonstrate a strong work ethic.
  • Teamwork and collaboration: Construction relies on successful collaboration. Employees must work closely with colleagues, subcontractors and other stakeholders.

Are there any drawbacks to careers in construction?

Working in the construction sector comes with its own set of challenges. Key things to consider in construction careers are:

  • Safety risks: Construction sites are inherently hazardous environments.
  • Physical demands: Construction work can involve manual labour and can be physically demanding.
  • Tight deadlines: Construction projects often operate on tight schedules, with deadlines to meet. Delays in one aspect of the project have knock-on effects including uncertainty and stress.
  • Regulatory compliance: The construction industry is subject to numerous regulations and standards including building codes, environmental regulations, safety requirements and labour laws. Compliance can be complex and time-consuming.
  • Workplace diversity and inclusion: The construction sector remains male-dominated and promoting diversity and inclusion is an ongoing challenge. However some employers are doing great things in this area, such as Murphy and 4PS both of whom have won awards for their diversity initiatives.

Employers for careers in construction tend to seek employees with a combination of technical expertise, practical experience and positive characteristics. Candidates who demonstrate with the right attributes are well-positioned to build a dynamic career in construction.

For more careers insights see our articles on Career Change 101, using LinkedIn to find a job and how to explain a gap in your CV.

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