A construction manager and worker at a construction site.
Article

Construction Management Job Outlook


Business Administration

Around the world, the construction industry has been booming in a long-awaited revival from the 2008 financial downturn. Although early, this resurgence looks promising as the construction industry is now offering appealing opportunities for both newcomers and midcareer professionals. Individuals looking to take advantage of these opportunities should possess the necessary communication and analytical skills needed to fulfill the numerous roles construction managers may have, including project supervisor, financial planner, and site commander.

Those who are interested in a career in construction management and want to learn about job outlook and salary opportunities associated with the role can prepare for a career in the field by earning an advanced degree, such as Norwich University’s online Master of Business Administration.

What Does a Construction Manager Do?

The work of a construction manager centers on construction sites, where managers are responsible for leading a construction project from start to finish. On a given day, a construction manager may need to balance competing priorities to ensure a project is complete. This may mean visiting the construction site to get input from the team, traveling to speak with vendors, assessing current progress, analyzing potential long-term costs and supplies, or meeting with top-level executives. While many of the initial construction sites may be local businesses, many managers may also have the chance to lead projects internationally.

The overall role of construction managers involves preparing project cost estimates, managing the budget, and supervising the project from beginning to end. Construction managers work on a wide variety of residential, commercial, or industrial projects. They often work with architects, engineers, and construction specialists to oversee the process of building schools, hospitals, bridges, and housing developments. They also supervise the subcontractors and construction workers who work on the site. 

Construction Manager Responsibilities

Construction managers have a wide range of duties and responsibilities throughout the project life cycle, including the following:

  • Negotiating agreements and drafting client contracts
  • Overseeing a project’s progress on a daily basis
  • Checking equipment and project sites for risk factors and safety-related issues
  • Responding to major problems and emergencies that may arise on the site
  • Ensuring that every stage of a project’s process meets government standards and regulations
  • Writing reports and communicating progress to clients

Steps to Become a Construction Manager

Individuals looking to begin a management career in the construction field or looking to advance in the field can benefit by following the steps in the following sections.

Education            

To qualify for a construction management career, individuals should begin by earning a bachelor’s degree. A degree in construction science, construction management, building science, architecture, or engineering can help students prepare for an advanced degree or an entry-level management position. After taking undergraduate courses in construction materials and methods, design, building codes and standards, and project management, they’ll be prepared to earn a master’s degree in construction management or business administration.

Experience          

The construction management job outlook is positive for construction professionals who have gained experience in the field. Entry-level construction managers can work for firms and assist experienced managers on projects for a few years before being promoted.

What Skills Does a Construction Manager Need?

A construction manager must be able to communicate with everyone, from laborers to architects, senior executives to regulatory agencies. Construction managers should also possess exceptional organization and leadership skills as much of their work comprises making sure that everyone is on the same page and nothing is being overlooked. Managers must also develop their business, analytical, and financial skills to deal with short- and long-term resource and financial challenges.

While it isn’t necessary for a construction manager to have hands-on field experience, positions requiring a degree from a related field is a trend. Many construction managers choose to develop their business and leadership skills by entering a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program that has a construction management or project management concentration. MBA programs are a great fit for construction managers, because they teach and implement business and leadership skills in the context of a construction environment. In an MBA program, construction managers are able to work on developing their business skills while also focusing on additional construction-related competencies, including cost estimation, vendor management, workplace safety, and team development.

Salary and Job Growth for Construction Managers

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the median annual wage of construction managers was $95,260 as of May 2019, with the highest 10% earning over $164,790, and the lowest 10% earning less than $56,140. As with many occupations, salary can vary substantially by industry. BLS statistics suggest that construction managers in residential building construction have the lowest median annual wage ($85,800), compared with those who focus on civil engineering ($99,870).

The construction industry’s revival has had a major impact on the construction management job outlook. The BLS notes that this profession can expect 8% growth between 2019 and 2029. However, as the need for construction work tends to fluctuate by region, construction managers who are flexible about relocation may have an easier time leveraging new opportunities.

To help ensure that construction projects remain organized, buildings maintain quality, and project sites remain safe, construction managers marshal a wide range of disparate resources and oversee massive initiatives from beginning to end. In today’s market, business-savvy construction managers with strong leadership abilities are in high demand, so to develop a fulfilling career, managers should work on continually building their strategic planning and project management skills.

Learn More About Earning a MBA

As the nation’s oldest private military college, Norwich University has been a leader in innovative education since 1819. Through its online programs, it delivers relevant, applicable curricula that allow its students to hone sought-after knowledge and skills.

Norwich University’s online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program helps create strong, well-versed leaders in business management practices. For those who are interested in a career in construction management, students in the program can customize their MBA by choosing a concentration in construction management, organizational leadership, or project management.

Recommended Readings

Project Management Techniques for Leading the Next Generation of Innovation
What Is an MBA? Seven Different Concentrations Support Greater Career Opportunities
Why Get an MBA? A Look at Career Competitive Advantages and Benefits

Sources:

What Does a Project Manager Do?, The Balance Careers
Construction Managers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Career Map: Construction Manager, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Construction Manager Overview, U.S. News & World Report
Construction Manager Job Description, Workable