Construction: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Job Types


Construction Site Supervisor

Construction jobs involve more than just what you see on a building site. There is a huge range of career choices in the industry. These involve designing, planning and project management, as well as doing the hands-on, practical work.

Salary: xxxxx per year

Job Satisfaction: Very High

Transferability: Very High

Education: Degree 

Job Growth: High

Personality: xxxx

1. Job Description
2. Typical Day At Work
3. Responsibilities
4. Working Life
5. Is This Right For Me
6. Related Careers

Job Description

Construction jobs are essentially about being able to say, ‘I helped build that!’. Construction involves designing and building the ‘built’ environment around us: not only skyscrapers, football stadiums and bridges, but also houses, factories, hospitals, schools, railways, tunnels, piers, dams, coastal defences and energy generation plants.

A project can be a ‘new build’, a renovation or a refurbishment. Larger construction companies specialise in particular ‘markets’ or sectors – for example, healthcare projects. Some work in a range of sectors while other companies provide expertise in just one or two areas. Many construction professionals specialise in a particular type of project over time.

Construction professionals’ overall priorities are to ensure that their projects are attractive, safe, sustainable (environmentally friendly), and completed on time and within budget.

What types of construction jobs and careers are there?

People are often surprised by how many different kinds of jobs there are in the construction industry. The main job roles for school leavers and graduates are:

  • Architects and architectural technologists design buildings. Architects design the structure, while architectural technologists ensure that the technical aspects of design work.

  • Building services engineers make sure that a building has more than walls and a roof. They ensure that the lighting, power, ventilation, heating, cooling and water systems work. They might work on building a building or ensure that the designs are put into practice correctly. They are sometimes known as mechanical and/or electrical engineers.

  • Building surveyors provide technical advice relating to construction and property. They have various roles, but the core of their work is to report on a building’s condition (for example, if there is dampness and what any repairs would cost).

  • Civil, structural and geotechnical engineers are essential in ensuring that project designs work in practice. Civil and structural engineers tend to work either in an office on the technical aspects of designs or on-site, ensuring that the designs are implemented properly. Structural engineers have particular responsibility for ensuring that the project's structure (inner framework) holds up. Geotechnical engineers are responsible for structures’ foundations. The design foundations and oversee foundation work on site.

  • Landscape architects aim to improve the quality of the environment by designing and managing the open spaces around us. They design and create public areas in towns, cities and the countryside.

  • Quantity surveyors help a construction project to make a profit. They are involved in working out how much the design would cost to build in theory or how much the project will build in reality.

  • Site managers ensure things get done on a construction site. They make sure that the building work is finished on time, within budget and to a high standard, managing teams of workers.

  • Working in a construction trade or craft is what most people think of as construction work. Trades and crafts include bricklaying, stonemasonry, carpentry, joinery, demolition work, electrical work, painting and decorating, plumbing, scaffolding, steeple jacking, and wall and floor work.


What types of employers are there in construction?

In construction, several different types of organisations work together to complete a project. The exact work you will do in your job will depend on the type of organisation you work for.

The main types of construction organisation are:

  • Consultants look after the pre-construction stages of a project on behalf of a client who wants something built. Professionals who work for consultants spend their time helping to plan and design the project.

  • Contractors, which build the project once the designs have been finalised. Professionals who work for contractors spend most of their time working out on site.

  • Contractors employ subcontractor organisations if the contractors need specialists or additional help. For example, the contractor might bring in teams to help with the foundation work or steelwork. Professionals working for subcontractors tend to spend their time on-site alongside contractors.

Additionally, you will need to meet the vetting requirements.

Typical Day At Work

Being in the construction industry has its ups and downs, along with much hard work. Construction workers have to be tough, energetic and know exactly what they are doing.  They also need to get a lot of safety training.

  1. Up bright and early, work clothes on, take a hard hat and go to the site being worked on.

  2. Today’s project is on a new build project so lots to do.

  3. Make sure all machinery has been hired and is working well.

  4. Clearing the site to start building.

  5. Jump into the seat of an 8.5-tonne excavator and start digging to lay foundations of buildings.

  6. Have to be accurate with depths and widths of ground to be removed.

  7. Tip soil, debris, and any other materials into a tipper truck, taking everything to a dump not far away.

  8. Lunch break.

  9. Back to the job in hand, do more excavating, tipping, and removal of rubbish.

  10. Site all ready for the concrete foundations.

  11. Time for home put feet up, relax and chill out before another busy day.

Other Responsibilities

Separately, many senior Construction Workers provide support to others in the form of training, advising and mentoring. Often with a technical position having chosen to enter management 5-10 years into their career, the experience of the typical construction workers is perfect for supporting the next generation of workers. 

Working Life

Working Hours:

Standard 37.5 hour week

Regular schedule like a 9 to 5 (often 7 to 3)

In a typical week, although contracted to 37.5 hours per week, it is not unusual for a construction worker to regularly work between 42 and 45 hours per week. 

Much of a site worker 9 to 5 is split between attending meetings or design reviews and working to build the many constructed buildings needed by the nuclear industry.

Is This Right For Me

Best Personality for this career:


You can read more about these career personality types here.

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