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Engineering and construction – building up to a strong decade
27 January 2020
What is white-collar construction?
The type of construction you may be familiar with probably involves worksites and manual labour – this is referred to as blue-collar construction. However, there is an entire world to construction other than this which doesn’t tend to cross many minds. Those who are managing, designing and doing the behind the scenes work are just as important as the contractors. Read on to learn about a white-collar career in the construction industry.
Why choose a career in construction?
1 It just keeps on growing
Did you know that the construction industry is set to grow at a record rate over the next few years? Not only for traditional blue-collar specialists but more so for the white-collar professionals and managerial experts. The Construction Industry Training Board reported that between 2018 and 2022, at least 160,000 construction roles have been newly created in the UK alone.
2 Routes and pathways
Whether it be through an apprenticeship, a graduate scheme or gaining professional qualifications, there’s an abundance of ways to enter a job in construction. You don’t need a degree for everything. If you’re looking to get into construction, do a bit of research and find out the types of job that match your skills and qualifications.
3 Skills shortage
With construction roles rapidly increasing over the next few years, the number of workers in the sector is set to be more than 2.75 million. This growth means that it is an industry with one of the highest skills shortages in the UK – your skills could be in demand!
Additionally, more than a fifth of construction workers are over fifty - it is time for the industry to attract a new generation of talent! With technology driving the construction industry forward, new jobs are being created and a fresh set of skills are in demand.
Like dominoes, when there’s a shortage of skills, it has a knock-on effect to the rest of the organisation. Skills shortages create a demand for workers, leading to promotions, raises and extra benefits! Career progression within white-collar construction can be quick and climbing the ladder isn’t far out of sight.
What are your options when it comes to white-collar construction jobs?
5 Project management
In any construction project, the project manager assumes overall responsibility for its planning and execution. They not only deal with the day-to-day running of the project, but they manage costs, hiring and carry out a detailed construction plan. The job comes with high expectations to meet demanding milestones, and project managers have increased responsibility for decisions both small and large. They do so in such a way that risk is controlled, and uncertainty minimised. Every decision made by the project manager should be done in a way that it directly benefits the project. If you are a natural leader, then this role may suit you well.
6 Health & safety
With complex, heavy machinery being used every day in construction, it can be a pretty hazardous job. In fact, 3% of all construction workers in the UK have sustained a work-related injury. This is where the health and safety team come in – their role is to minimise risk and put systems place in order to prevent accidents. If you are the safety-conscious type then this is the job for you.
7 Quantity surveying
Quantity surveyors have expert knowledge on construction costs and contracts. Their role involves the setting and managing of budgets throughout construction and civil engineering projects. From creating the initial estimates, finding investors to finalising the complete budget, senior quantity surveyors manage several tasks throughout the life cycle of a project. Quantity surveyors are constantly in demand, so if you think you have the skills for the job then it is definitely a viable career choice.
It may sound like every white-collar profession is exclusively for the technically-minded. Fear not! If you are a creative, then architecture may be your calling. Architects are trained in the art and science of building design – they develop the concepts for structures and turn those concepts into reality.
The qualities you need for a job in construction
9 Problem solving
Due to the complex nature of construction, it requires more problem-solving than many professions. At any stage in the process, a curve ball may be thrown your way – you must have the resilience to get around the obstacles and get the job done.
Alongside problem solving skills, comes communication. In order for a project to run smoothly, and safely, there needs to be a direct line of communication with every member of the team. Remember to communicate and everything will go to plan.
Construction projections rely on deadlines and budgets. If these aren’t adhered to, the project will go down the drain in a flash. A career in construction is only for you, if you have a dependable character and know how to follow a plan.
In construction, there’s no room for slackers. Every single person in the team is just as important as the next and plays a key role in the process. Being a good team player can make the difference between a good job and a perfect job. If you love working as part of a team, then get looking into a career in construction.
How to land your dream construction job
13 Know your stuff
The first step to finding your perfect construction career, is to understand the industry. You need to know what you are getting yourself into and keep up to date with industry news. Construction is constantly changing, so keep on track with the latest trends.
14 Get experience
The only way to really understand construction, is to just do it. Whether it be an apprenticeship, work experience or your first job in the industry, keep learning and get the experience you need. We can help find the right role for you!
If you’re looking to get started in a career in construction, check out our job board to see what we’ve got in store for you.