Construction managers oversee development of public, commercial and residential building projects, including budgeting and supervision of employees. Long-time construction company owner Roxanne Rivera noted in a September 2010 article in "The New York Times" that women with a work ethic, who set boundaries and earn respect, can succeed in a traditionally male-dominated world. A bachelor's degree in construction or an associate degree with industry experience are common employer requirements if you don't start your own business.
High pay is a positive when contemplating a career as a construction manager. The median annual pay for the job was $83,860 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This amount can vary significantly based on whether you work for an employer or operate your own business, but it does provide motive to enter a field that women increasingly find attractive. The size of your company and the availability of projects in the area affect pay as well.
The construction business in general tends to offer a high degree of job stability and growth. Between community infrastructure updates and new building projects, construction projects are always going on. Additionally, public, commercial and residential property cycle through renovation requirements over time. Given the high demand for construction work, construction managers are also in demand. The labor statistics bureau projected a growth rate for managers of 17 percent from 2010 to 2020. It also noted requirements have become more stringent and those with a bachelor's degree have a better shot at manager positions during that time frame. College programs are increasingly seeking out female applicants for construction management programs to help bridge the gender gap in the field.
Construction management is not the field for you if you buckle under the slightest pressure. Women especially, according to Rivera, need to prove their mettle in an environment where men may still doubt their abilities to lead. Just as a building's foundation supports its development, the manager supports her crew and clients in the project's development. Completing a project on time and within the budget requirements is a constant source of stress. You not only need to meet the client's needs, but your employer's or business' as well. Coordinating labor, equipment and supplies in an efficient manner is part of the day-to-day grind. You also need to be familiar with zoning codes and other building laws in the state and local community.
The construction business is known for its mobile workplace. While you may have an office for your business or work in an employer's office, the amount of time you spend there may be minimal. Office time is usually for planning, making calls and preparing for project work. Much of the manager's time is spent on location in mobile offices. In smaller communities, you may travel far for large projects and be away from home for weeks or months at times as well. This can be especially challenging for a woman trying to balance a career with family responsibilities. On job sites, noise combined with flying debris and dust can also serve as hazards.
2016 Salary Information for Construction Managers
Construction managers earned a median annual salary of $89,300 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, construction managers earned a 25th percentile salary of $68,050, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $119,710, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 403,800 people were employed in the U.S. as construction managers.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Construction Managers
- The New York Times: Building Towers, Razing Sexism
- Pratt: Construction Management
- Arizona State University Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering: Construction Management
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Construction Managers
- Career Trend: Construction Managers
- Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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