What do you think of when you think about construction work?
Maybe you imagine a construction site, complete with heavy equipment and men wearing hardhats. Some things about this image definitely are accurate. A typical construction site may very well look like this. But it’s not always true; in fact, this imagined construction site includes at least one of the biggest myths about construction jobs.
Can you tell what it is?
Let’s take a look at five of the biggest construction job myths. You may find that your assumptions about construction work weren’t completely accurate!
This is false. Construction workers typically earn an excellent wage.
Unlike many other jobs, construction work has a lot of upward mobility. That means that after you work in construction for awhile, you can take on more responsibility and earn more money. Unlike working in a kitchen, a warehouse, or retail floor, you’ll acquire lots of specialized, in-demand skills in a construction job. Employers value these skills, and they tend to promote employees from within.
Average earnings for construction professionals is consistently in the mid-to-high five figures (think $45,000 to $65,000 per year, depending on the job). Workers who have been on the job a long time tend to earn even more. In many cases, they’re also eligible for supervisory or management roles.
Then there’s this: Construction employers usually offer great employee benefits, including health, dental, disability, and life insurance.
In short, the pay in construction is great.
As a construction professional, you can get as rough or dirty as you want — or don’t want.
To be clear, your first role at a construction company likely will involve working outside. You may be lifting heavy objects and using large, powerful tools. Nobody gets to the foreman on the first day!
But as you progress in your role and acquire more skills, you can really choose your own path. Many construction professionals actually prefer to stay as active as possible on site. Others will transition into managerial or administrative roles, where a lot of their work is done at offices indoors.
As far as safety is concerned, construction companies put a large emphasis on safety. Besides not wanting anyone to get hurt on the job — after all, who wants that? — worker injuries have a very negative financial impact on construction companies’ bottom lines. For one thing, injuries are expensive. And don’t forget that an injured worker means they’re short a worker. That costs, too.
For these reasons, construction companies don’t hire just anyone. They hire trained, credentialed workers with specific certifications. That way, they can be sure their workers are following all necessary safety protocols.
Speaking of training and credentials…
Actually, construction training is really affordable. It might even be free.
At Construction Ready, we offer a free construction job training program that provides all the instruction and credentials you need to get your first construction job. Our students even get to meet their future employers as part of the training, and 95% have their first job offer before the training ends!
The program is free for students because it’s fully funded through donations to our organizations, government grants, and other scholarship or aid programs.
Even if you don’t live near a Construction Ready training site, there’s likely a training option within commuting distance of your home. Community and technical colleges often have construction or construction-related programs, and you can earn a certificate or associate’s degree that helps you begin a construction career.
Not true! Construction jobs are for everyone, and you may be surprised how many women you see in hardhats working at construction sites.
Now do you see the mistake in our imagined construction site from the beginning of this article?
One reason women love working in construction is actually the pay. In construction, women consistently earn over 99% of what men earn. Sure that number ought to be 100%, but 99% is way higher than the 84% national pay gap across all professions.
Women have actually been working in construction for a long time. The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) has been active since the early 1950s and boasts over 115 chapters throughout the United States. NAWIC focuses on education and professional development and supports women seeking higher-paying roles at construction firms.
Construction pros were in high demand during COVID.Does that come as a surprise? Well, maybe it makes more sense when you consider that construction jobs include drywall installation, electrical work, and HVAC servicing. With people at home all the time because of the virus, there was a lot of demand for people who know how to do that kind of work!
It’s true that building construction slowed during the 2008 recession, and the nature of future recessions is impossible to predict. However, the skills you gain as a construction professional are often transferable to so-called “adjacent” careers. So even if there’s suddenly no work for drywall installers, there might be work for professional framers. As a drywall installer, there’s a good chance you know a lot about building framing already. The learning curve won’t be steep, so you can easily move into a different job when the need for your skills changes.
Compared to many other careers, there’s a good chance you either won’t lose your job during a recession at all or that you’ll be able to use your skills in a different, but similar, role.
Maybe we’ve helped you understand the construction landscape a little bit better. If you’re feeling more comfortable with the prospect of working in construction, we’d love to talk to you about Construction Ready!
Get in touch with us today! We’ll let you know about upcoming trainings and do everything we can to prepare you for a career transition into construction.