Construction managers are in charge of construction projects ranging from building breathtaking skyscrapers to modern superhighways and other magnificent buildings. The fast-paced profession comes with a high salary potential and job security. But on the flip side, construction managers face a great deal of responsibility, work pressure, and stress.
Construction managers are generally not happy with their jobs and rank below average when it comes to happiness at work. While they enjoy high salaries, job security, and potential for future growth, construction managers also have a significant share of work-related stress and poor work-life balance.
In this article, we’ll address everything revolving around construction managers and their happiness at work. Keep reading to understand some of the key responsibilities and the pros and cons of working as a construction manager.
What Are the Duties of a Construction Manager?
Construction managers coordinate and supervise the construction of all types of residential and commercial buildings, roads, bridges, and industrial structures, to mention a few.
They are conversant with construction technologies, terminologies, and methods, and are up to date with trends in the construction world while interpreting construction designs and contracts.
Key Responsibilities of a Construction Manager
In a nutshell, the key responsibilities of a construction manager include:
- Oversees the running of construction projects from their conception to completion.
- Ensures that the project conforms with the regional and federal construction laws.
- Prepares work timetables and negotiates cost estimates and budgets.
- Interprets and explains technical information to their task force.
- Reports and discusses budget matters and work progress with the clients.
- Works hand in hand with architects and engineers to ensure a smooth flow of the project.
- Hires and instructs the required personnel.
- Ensures the safety of workers while at work.
- Represents the firm at meetings.
- Analyzes, manages, and mitigates risks.
- Monitors the progress of the project daily.
- Ensures that resources are used effectively and efficiently.
- Prepares reports, both internal and external, regarding the status of the job progress.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Working as a Construction Manager
Let’s now look at some of the pros and cons that come with this job position:
Pros: What Makes Construction Managers Happy With Their Jobs
According to a report by the U.S Bureau of Labour and Statistics (BLS) published in May 2020, the median annual wage of a construction manager stood at $97,180. The median wage at the lower 10th percentile was $56,880, while that at the upper 90th percentile was $169,070.
According to this report, the Nonresidential Building Sector had the highest number of construction managers, approximately 75,270, while its mean annual wage was about $106,890.
However, construction managers in the Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing sector were the highest-paid, earning a mean annual wage of $138,910.
The attractive salary is among the top advantages of this profession.
Excellent Job Security
As per the projections made by BLS, the demand for construction managers in the U.S is estimated to grow 8 times faster than other occupations by 2029.
This increased demand will result from the overall growth in population and businesses that’ll necessitate the construction of new apartments, schools, hospitals, and commercial buildings. Additionally, infrastructure such as transport and communication lines will require expansion and renovations to accommodate the growing needs.
Varied Job Duties
Today construction managers aren’t limited to one area of expertise.
A construction manager might be hired to oversee the construction of hospitals, roads, homes, or business premises. This means these professionals get to taste varied job duties helping them build on a wide range of skills.
However, to perform efficiently in the various duties in this fast-paced profession, construction managers need to be on a continuous path of learning. They need to keep up with emerging trends in the construction industry.
Additionally, they need to increase their skill sets to fit into the ever-increasing qualifications of the construction job market.
Cons: What Makes Construction Managers Unhappy With Their Jobs
Long Working Hours
Unlike many 9-5 jobs, construction managers may be required to work past the regular working hours, which means they may need to wake up early in the morning or work late into the night, including weekends, to ensure everything runs smoothly.
The project’s complexity, pressure to beat fast-approaching deadlines, emergencies at work, and unavoidable work delays contribute to extra working hours.
If a manager is overwhelmed by the task beforehand, the long working hours cause an improper work-life balance that may affect his social life. However, given the competitive rates in this profession, all the extra effort might be worth the reward.
Although working as a construction manager comes with a huge reward, managers face a handful of stress. At any given time, a manager may be dealing with uncooperative construction workers, delayed deliveries, overwhelming deadlines, or even juggling between multiple projects.
Additionally, this professional may be dealing with the stress of underestimating the project costs and filing federal construction permits.
This mental stress causes a toil on the construction managers, making some of them feel unfit for the job.
Construction managers don’t spend all their days in the office. Their presence at the construction site is also vital, which might expose them to harsh conditions such as working under the scorching sun or biting cold in winter.
Additionally, being at a construction site exposes them to noise pollution from the construction equipment. And let’s not forget the cramped workspace and heavy lifting a construction manager might be required to do if they should chip in and offer a helping hand.
Generally, a construction manager’s workplace can be a hazardous place.
How Satisfied Are Construction Managers With Their Job?
According to Career Explorer, on a scale of 5, construction managers rate their job happiness at 3.
Most of these professionals are happy with their salaries, job growth, and job security. However, long working hours, poor work-life balance, work stress, and workplace hazards tend to lower their overall satisfaction from their chosen career path.
So, in a nutshell, construction managers aren’t fully happy in their careers. The 3/5 rating puts their happiness level below average.
Though the cons of being a construction manager that affect the level of happiness may vary from one person to another, there are a few steps that can go a long way in mitigating these downfalls.
These steps include:
- Fair productivity goals: Construction managers should avoid being too hard on themselves and their task force. They should develop realistic productivity goals that won’t leave them breaking their bones or feeling overwhelmed by work, because fair productivity goals reduce work pressure and stress.
- Duty hour limits: With fair productivity goals, it becomes pretty easy for construction managers and their workers to work within the regular working hours, which, in turn, brings a positive work-life balance.
- Attending seminars and workshops: Managers need to learn appropriate ways to delegate tasks and the right approaches to handle work-related stress. Seminars and workshops are great places for managers to learn these methods.
- Appropriate job assignments: Construction managers should avoid placing money high on their priority list. Instead, they should focus on getting those jobs they are well conversant with to ensure they have a smooth time running the projects and complying with the federal laws.
Being a construction manager, just like any other profession, has its share of advantages and drawbacks, which contribute to the happiness one derives from it.
And while most construction managers aren’t wholly happy in their career, a little change in the approach they use to handle things can help them get the happiness they have been craving.
These changes in their work framework include developing fair productivity goals, imposing duty hour limits, and attending seminars and workshops, to mention a few.
- U.S Bureau of Labor and Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics
- U.S Bureau of Labor and Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook
- Career Explorer: Are construction managers happy?
- Career Explorer: What does a construction manager do?
- U.S News: Construction Manager Overview
- The European Business Review: Pros And Cons of a Construction Management Degree