While many industries suffered during the pandemic, construction kept going strong amid low interest rates and increased housing demand.
Ironically, even though construction is booming, firms are having a hard time finding labor. Experts are divided on why this is, but one prevailing notion is that many people see construction as a job of last resort, rather than a field in which they can build a meaningful career.
Despite this, salary data from the BLS indicates that construction management positions pay top-tier wages. In 2020, a full-time construction manager’s median weekly wage was $1,575, which was slightly higher than the $1,541 number for all management occupations and 60% higher than that across all occupations.
Furthermore, construction management jobs offer strong wages not only compared to managerial positions in other industries, but they provide a significant pay advantage over non-managerial jobs in the construction field. A typical full-time construction worker makes about 42% less than construction managers, according to the BLS.
Unlike manual labor that is characteristic of many of these occupations, construction management more closely resembles a general management role. Construction managers coordinate not just building activities, but also permitting and compliance, contract negotiations, accounting, and safety, among other functions. The role has also changed rapidly in recent years thanks to the industry’s technology boom. As venture capital money has poured in, new software—like construction management software or takeoff software—is changing the job for many construction professionals, especially managers. In the long-term, this, combined with strong wages, could make such positions more appealing to younger workers.
In general, construction managers earn the highest cost-of-living-adjusted annual pay in northern and eastern states. Delaware is the best-paying state, with an adjusted wage of over $130,000 per year. Wisconsin ($118,716), New Jersey ($118,259), and North Carolina ($111,668) also report some of the highest wages for construction managers after adjusting for living costs. Notable exceptions are Vermont ($78,836), Maine ($81,138), and New Hampshire ($87,803) in the Northeast, which report some of the lowest adjusted wages for construction managers in the country.
To identify the states that offer the best pay for construction managers, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed data from the BLS and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. They calculated and ranked states by their cost-of-living adjusted wages for construction managers. In the event of a tie, the location with the greater unadjusted wage was ranked higher.
The analysis found that after adjusting for the above average cost of living, construction managers in California earn a median annual wage of $101,426. The median annual wage for construction managers at the national level is $97,180. Out of all U.S. states, California is the 17th best-paying for construction managers. Here is a summary of the data for California:
- Median annual wage for construction managers (adjusted): $101,426
- Median annual wage for construction managers (actual): $118,060
- Median annual wage for all construction occupations (actual): $58,580
- Cost of living (compared to average): +16.4%
For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States:
- Median annual wage for construction managers (adjusted): $97,180
- Median annual wage for construction managers (actual): $97,180
- Median annual wage for all construction occupations (actual): $48,610
- Cost of living (compared to average): N/A
For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Construction Coverage’s website: https://constructioncoverage.com/research/best-paying-cities-for-construction-managers-2021
Mike LaFirenza writes for Lattice News Wire