Would you fit in if you were working in a construction industry job? A lot of people looking for work don’t think so.

There is a long-standing perception in our society that construction industry jobs are dirty, difficult, back-breaking labor. And yes, there are certainly jobs like that. However, the added reality is that there are literally hundreds of jobs in or linked to the construction industry that do not require carrying bundles of fiberglass insulation on your shoulder, roofing a building, digging ditches, or muscling around sheets of drywall.

Besides tough, physically demanding construction jobs, there are opportunities in: engineering, architecture, drafting, framing, painting, cabinetry, finish work, elevator repair/mechanic, solar installation/technician, robotics technology, equipment operator…well, you get the picture. There are also supplier and retail jobs – for instance building materials supply stores and warehouses – that keep construction work moving forward. People can follow their interests and find meaningful work in countless related areas.

There are many moving parts in a construction project that most people just don’t see at first glance. A worker can start in one type of job, then explore and branch out as their interests evolve until they are working in a completely different discipline, yet still part of the construction industry. With some research and planning, workers can find not only jobs, but careers they can be passionate about for the long haul.

Let’s not forget that there are also excellent income opportunities in construction jobs. A US News Money report showed that electricians, plumbers, structural iron and steelworkers have some of the highest paying jobs that don’t require a college degree. For this reason and the others that were mentioned above, exposure to construction careers at an early age could help to eventually solve the skilled labor shortage the industry has been trying to deal with.

The current labor shortage has been a big incentive and driving force for changing the image of the construction industry. It is increasingly attracting a more diverse workforce with distinct and necessary skillsets.

There are more and more role models in the industry that don’t exude brawn and muscle. Some are good negotiators; some are good communicators; some bring excellent team building skills. Working together with understanding and teamwork make for a more productive construction project and a healthier workforce. Less distraction from conflicts enables workers to focus more on working together toward a common goal.  

Whether someone is right or wrong, they want to be heard. In order to develop a good culture in a company, it’s up to the company’s leaders to listen to workers and empower them to make decisions. When workers have that ability and responsibility, when they feel like their opinions matter, they become part of the company’s bigger picture. Although delegation may not always feel natural, it is a useful practice. Every leader can ultimately gain power through being vulnerable and asking for help now and then. We all discover as we mature that no one can do everything.  

Bridging the Gap Podcast, episode 120 with guest Coralee Beatty "Don't Limit the Way You Think About Construction"

In episode 120 of Bridging the Gap Podcast, Coralee Beatty delves deeper into careers in the construction industry.

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