Build a career in construction: Construction Industry update, 2014

Build a career in construction: Construction Industry update, 2014

Construction careers in today’s market are all about high-tech, high-stakes, huge earning potential and the opportunity to travel the world. Accenture research says construction industry in emerging markets has projected revenues of $6.7 trillion by 2020. Fuelled by urbanisation, globalisation and infrastructure renewal, the global construction industry is expected to grow over the next decade.

According to the report published by Global Construction Perspectives and Oxford Economics, rapidly emerging economies of Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe will account for some 55% of global construction output.

If you’re reliable and willing to take on physical work, opportunities will be available to you without extensive training requirements. Construction work uses high-tech equipment and relies on team work. A career in construction offers rewards proportionate to the effort you put in. Whether you are a skilled construction worker or a manager, you can find a satisfying life-long career in the construction industry. Working in construction can be intense and arduous, but it leads to rewarding and high-paying jobs.


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Home to some of the most incredible architectural wonders in the world – Burj Khalifa and the Burj Al Arab – Dubai’s trend for expansion and growth has made it a focal point for a variety of exciting construction projects. Each year, the city draws thousands of workers from across the world with opportunities in ongoing construction projects. In 2013 alone, the Gulf Cooperation Council awarded new construction contracts worth US $67 billion, an increase of over 50% from 2012’s US $39.4 billion.

The range of opportunities available for construction workers in Dubai is varied – civil engineers, architects, transport planners, maintenance workers and project managers, amongst many others – to work on the city’s numerous extravagant hotel and tourism projects, its sporting facilities and sprawling utilities infrastructure.

Dubai, UAE

Companies offer foreign employees attractive relocation packages, including accommodation, insurance, travel and other perks, like language lessons. In Dubai’s expanding skyline, construction vacancies are common and career progression swift. Companies are eager to engage the best people for the roles; which is why, salaries in Dubai and wider UAE countries are around 10% more than for equivalent roles in Europe and the UK.

Job profiles most in demand are:

Project managers: With over 3 years of experience in similar role; possessing an engineering or technical degree.

Construction managers: There is robust demand for construction managers in Dubai and the UAE as a whole, thanks mainly to upcoming big-ticket events such as the 2020 World Expo in Dubai and the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

Civil engineers: They are in charge of designing, estimating, scheduling, planning and cost-control for projects ranging from buildings to highways, dams to tunnels, reservoirs, bridges, etc.

Companies are also looking to fill vacancies of:

  • Contract managers
  • Rail systems managers
  • Environment specialists
  • Planning engineers
  • Project architects
  • Landscape architects
  • Quality analysts
  • Civil design specialists
  • Site engineers
  • Mechanical engineers

…and more.


The 2022 FIFA World Cup is the key driver for growth of the construction industry in Qatar. A number of infrastructure and residential projects have been undertaken by the government in preparation for the event.

The government’s five-year development plan for the country also supports the construction industry, allocating US $125 billion for development projects during 2011-2016. US $65 billion will be spent on infrastructure projects, and the remaining US $60 billion on residential, commercial and LNG construction projects.

Qatar, Middle East

The government is also undertaking three large-scale railway projects: the metro rail network in Doha, the over ground railway service to cover the entire country, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) railway project. The combined cost of these rail projects is US $36.6 billion. In addition, Doha is set to construct a new port valued at US $301 million.

United States

The Labour Department has predicted an overall growth of 2.6% in the construction sector, adding 1.6 million new jobs for workers who create, repair or enhance infrastructure. As the construction industry grows, more and more skilled roles are becoming available:

USA construction

Construction manager

Construction management is ideal for someone who has a general interest in building and design. You are involved in everything – from the planning stage with architects and engineers, to the budgeting stage with cost estimators, to the production stage with labourers.

Number of jobs: 78,200

Median salary: $82,790

Cost estimator

The cost estimator coordinates with the engineers, architects and construction managers to determine technical, mechanical and fiscal requirements of the project. The person needs to be a critical thinker, someone who can estimate what it will cost and analyze the reasons why.

Number of jobs: 53,000

Median salary: $58,860


Responsible for cutting and installing the glasswork on building, glaziers work with technologically advanced tools. Many are required to undergo multiyear training and apprenticeships for familiarity with sophisticated construction equipment.

Number of jobs: 8,000

Median salary: $37,610


These highly trained and extra essential professionals install, inspect and repair the pipes and fixtures that carry water, steam, air and gas. The best in the occupation are strong problem-solvers who have mastered customer service and can meet the physical and mechanical demands of the job.

Number of jobs: 82,300

Median salary: $49,140

Structural iron and steelworker

Often dangerous work, structural iron and steel workers erect steel beams, girders and columns at towering heights. They create the forms of bridges and buildings by installing iron or steel beams. Their demand will increase with the country’s aging infrastructure, including roads and bridges, which need maintenance or rebuilding.

Number of jobs: 12,700

Median salary: $46,140


A professional painter needs to have undergone a three- or four-year apprenticeship that includes about 2,000 hours of on-the-job training to learn about paint, stain and coatings and how they interact with various surfaces. The field has many different segments – infrastructure to new construction of commercial buildings and many types of decorative art and restoration.

Number of jobs: 62,600

Median salary: $35,190

Manhattan, New York City, USA


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United Kingdom

The annual Construction Skills Network (CSN) report stated that the growth in UK’s construction industry between 2014 and 2018 will lead to over 182,000 new jobs being created. With an average growth of 2.2% per year, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) predicts 36,400 job openings to be filled in 2014 alone! The employment figures will also receive a boost from the construction of new nuclear power plants creating an additional 6,370 new jobs annually.

Housing makes up for more than one-third of the UK’s construction output from 2014 to 2018. House building trades, such as bricklaying, roofing, carpentry, plastering and general labouring are predicted to be significant employment areas, but speciality personnel, like civil engineers, will also be sought after.

Almost 40% of salaries in the UK’s construction sector fall into the £20,000 – £40,000 range, and around 25% of workers earn between £40,000 and £60,000.

London, UK

Asia Pacific

There is a scathing shortage of skilled construction workforce in the APAC region. Western Australia, which is facing another period of strong economic growth, is creating long-term work opportunities in construction. Industry Employment Projections Report from the Australian Government says the sector is projected to grow by 10.1% over the next five years, accounting for 12% of total employment growth. More than 20,000 jobs are likely to be created by 2014-15, including carpenters, joiners, tillers and bricklayers. Even as Australia undertakes more than half the world’s planned additions to LNG capacity, New Zealand too is experiencing skills shortage. Right now, there is a critical requirement of 20 to 30 thousand workers for the massive Christchurch drives rebuild project.

Sydney, Australia

In the construction industry, you never stop learning. New equipment and materials are introduced continually, so you must keep yourself up-to-date with new accreditations and essential skills to keep up with the development trends.

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