The kinds of tasks assigned to construction laborers on the job site run the full gamut, from gopher to grunt. You could run errands for the crew and the supervisor, or you might need to pitch right in and grab a hammer. A laborer is basically untrained muscle, with most of your duties learned on the job. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there’s plenty of opportunity in the field, with an expected 25 percent job growth through 2020. In 2010, the median income for the job was around $13.66 an hour.
There’s a good chance you’ll be one of the first and last workers on the construction site. Initially, you’ll help clear the site of garbage, debris and potential safety hazards. You may work with a dump truck crew to fill the dumpsters. Expect to be very familiar with brooms and mops. You’ll most likely clean up at the end of the day and ensure tools are put away and cleaned. Once the construction project is complete, you’re the one who makes it look acceptable for the developers and tenants.
Tools and building supplies are continually being moved from delivery trucks to the job site. The carrying of parts is usually assigned to laborers. You’ll definitely get a workout in this job and can very likely skip the gym on days you’re assigned to carry equipment around the site. You’ll also spend time loading trucks to carry off debris or you might even go to the warehouse to pick up and load supplies being delivered to the site.
You might actually get to do a little building if you have a mentor willing to train you or if you bring some level of skill to the job. Laborers can build scaffolding and work beside trained craftsmen as assistants. Laborers typically are the workers assigned to building temporary structures, guide rails and gates to keep out the public. You might operate a jackhammer (if you can hold the thing still enough) and break up concrete that needs to be removed from the site.
There’s a good chance that as the female on the crew, you’ll land the job of being a lookout, guiding truck drivers and machine operators to let them know when the coast is clear or you'll signal when they reach the spot they need to dump their load or swing their wrecking ball. You could be given a flag and wave traffic around the site or move cones as traffic patterns change to accommodate the work.
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."