Risks and Returns of Working in the Construction Industry

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From the time of the ancient Egyptians, human beings have been building construction projects. Either for shelter and comfort, for aesthetic, for glory, or for religious purposes. Since then, a lot has changed in how people do construction; from the techniques, the materials and equipment, the purpose, the treatment, and the working conditions of the builders.

According to the preliminary data of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 7.2 million construction jobs in July 2018, which is the highest employment level in the industry in a decade. In addition to this, the median annual wage of $45,820 in the construction industry in 2017 exceeded the $37,690 median wage for all industries. With this data, some might be thinking of entering the industry. But before working in the construction industry, there are pros and cons that one must consider first.

Working in the construction industry today has a lot of different advantages and returns:

Advantages:

  1. Job security

One of the greatest advantages of working in the construction industry and being part of a construction project is job security. Wherever you are, in an urban, suburban, or rural area, construction work is always needed.  There is also more freedom in choosing a job within the field because it is easy to train, and the skills which can be acquired from the job experiences and training of the employees will be useful wherever they go.

  1. Fulfillment

Another great return of working in construction, whatever your position is, is job fulfillment. That feeling of gratification whenever the construction crew that you are part of, or maybe that you are managing because you are a construction project manager, is able to finish a project, and you can see the building, the feeling of accomplishment is incomparable. You and your construction crew might not have built the grandest pyramid in history, but you are able to build a house for a family, a school for those who want to learn and study for their future, a hospital for the sick and for those in need, and a building for a business where dreams are coming true. The fruit of your hard work is visible and can serve as part of your legacy.

  1. Fitness

Working in construction, carrying heavy materials and equipment, and being outside are parts of the job. That is why being fit is necessary for people to be able to do their job with ease.  And being on-site, lifting and carrying heavy materials and equipment, and working outdoors which will need constant body movement and muscle work can lead a person into becoming physically fit and healthy.

  1. Money

This might not be common knowledge to everyone, but working in the construction industry can bring a huge salary.  In comparison to other labor jobs, people who work in construction can have a higher monthly paycheck. With the right skills and experiences, they can enjoy higher wages more than some white-collar jobs. And because construction employees can gain skills through their experiences and training, it is also easier for them to have a raise in salary without needing to study in the school for several years. (higher salary for construction jobs, citation)

  1. Easy to enter

In other professions, one might need a degree or a Ph.D. to get a job. But in the construction industry, having the right mindset, physical capability, training, and enough knowledge about the job that one is applying for, a person can get a job and be part of a construction business. Although it is true that some jobs and positions will need a degree, there are a lot of jobs in the construction industry that one can enter with a high school diploma which makes it easy to enter.

  1. Diversity

The diverse options when it comes to jobs and the different opportunities including different types of projects are some of the advantages that one can have by working in construction. By training and acquiring the necessary knowledge, the doors of opportunities widen for people in the construction industry. Working in the construction business will also introduce a person to different people and different places which can bring connections and additional knowledge.

  1. Clothes

Another one of the greatest things about working in construction is that it is not necessary to wear formal clothes like dresses, skirts, suits, or ties. Because of the nature of the work, whenever the construction crew is in the construction job site, wearing clothes that will allow them to work better and comfortably is the choice, whatever position they may be in.  This does not only allow employees to work comfortably but also to spend less because they do not need to invest in fancy clothes just to impress their bosses or their clients.

  1. Science and Technology

Another thing that makes it easier and an advantage to work in the construction industry today is the presence of technology. With the availability of different materials, equipment, and software produce by science and technology, construction workers today do not need to work as difficult as the ancient Egyptians who built the pyramids. With the emergence of construction project management software, it is now easier for construction project managers to plan their crew’s schedules and to monitor what tasks they accomplished. For the construction crew, managing their time and finishing their tasks will also not be a hassle now. There are also software available that can be used to build prototypes of projects without being on-site and without spending much money.  In addition to this, materials and equipment that can be use to strengthen and to improve construction projects, and that can further ensure the safety of the employees are also more available now.

Working in the construction industry today also has different disadvantages and risks:

Disadvantages

  1. Physically demanding

Because of the nature of the work where heavy lifting and working outdoors is necessary for almost everyone, working in construction can be a really tiring work, and maintaining a healthy, fit and capable body is also a must. 

  1. Risky/Hazardous

One of disadvantages of working in construction are the risks and hazards that can compromise the people’s safety. Working in height, slipping, tripping, falling, handling sensitive materials and being struck by moving objects are some of risks and hazards present in working in construction. There are a lot of places and situations wherein the employee’s lives can be in danger. To avoid such things, undergoing the proper training, acquiring the right knowledge and raising awareness about the danger, and having safety precautions are all mandatory. 

  1. Takes time to learn and master

Hard work is a part of working in the construction industry. In order to be part of a construction project, it is essential for people to first learn and master the tasks that they will need to perform in whatever construction job they are applying for, and this process might take time.  Dedication and patience are necessary components to succeed in it.

  1. Short-term labor

Projects in the construction business are seasonal. There are times that there will be no project, and the time when the project that they are working on ends, will always come. The availability of construction work may increase or decrease depending on the season. This is why financial security can be an issue. Not at the time there will be a need to build or fix something, and during these times, the construction workers will not have a salary. Because of seasonal work, construction workers can experience being troubled about having a long-term job and worrying about their future career. That is why considering being part of a construction company that is always working and that needs the skill-set that you can specifically offer is a great option.

  1. Age

Another disadvantage of working in the construction industry is that age can be an issue. With aging comes the weakening of the body and the vulnerability to different ailments. Because of these, it will become harder to land a job, or the jobs that one can take will be limited. 

  1. Work conditions

One of the risks of working in construction is the working conditions. Other than the known risks and hazards, the temperature can also be concern in this field of work. There are times that it will be too hot and there is a risk of having heatstroke, and there are also times that it will be too cold to work and move comfortably. 

  1. Unconventional working hours

The time of the job can be unpredictable in construction. There are times that the construction crew will need to build or fix something at dawn or at night. These situations might be a bother for some because it can alter their sleep schedule or it can coincide with the other tasks that they need to do.

With these risks and returns of working in the construction industry, it is one’s choice whether to consider and value more the returns and take the risk. In the construction industry, passion, dedication, hard work and commitment are necessary attributes in order to succeed. It might be easy to enter this industry, but it takes such qualities to remain. 

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