As recruiters in the construction industry, we often get the question, “How much do construction workers make?”. Understanding a construction worker’s salary and pay ranges is critical if you’re considering a career in construction or whether the available career paths are worthwhile.
There are almost limitless employment opportunities for residential, commercial, and industrial construction workers. The career opportunities in construction range from building a home as a framer to leveling gravel on a highway to setting beams on a high-rise hotel. Due to the number of different roles, we can’t cover them all, but we can explore some salary estimates of the most common positions to give you a feel for the prospective comp ranges.
To get started, let’s look at the compensation data in the United States from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
How much do construction workers make?
Construction worker salaries averaged $45,520 as of 2023. The median income or wage is when half the workers in an occupation earn more than that amount, and half earn less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,660, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $72,590.
In this article, we’ll further explore average construction worker salary ranges and hourly take-home pay for construction laborers, road workers, estimators, engineers, superintendents, and project managers so you can decide if it’s the industry for you. As you skim this post, please keep in mind your area’s cost of living expenses and how lower or higher wages may impact your situation.
Before we get started, let’s review what a construction worker does:
What do construction workers do?
A construction worker works on a construction site and can be responsible for several on-site tasks, such as removing debris, inspections, framing homes, erecting scaffolding, loading and unloading building materials, and assisting with operating heavy equipment. They can be involved in constructing commercial buildings, multi-family apartments, and single-family buildings like houses, schools, hospitals, or other related projects.
Below we’ll review everything you need to know about the wages and salaries of construction workers at all levels of seniority.
How much do construction workers make?
A construction worker’s annual wages range between $28,825 and $72,509. Factors impacting the amount earned include education level, completed job training, overall skill level, related experience, relevant certifications, completion of an apprenticeship program, and other complementary skills.
What is the average salary of a construction worker?
The average total compensation for a construction worker is about $37,250, per Salary.com. It’s important to remember that the more responsibility you take on and the bigger the project, the more money you can earn.
How much do construction workers make an hour?
How much does a construction worker make in an hour? According to the salary survey data from Career Explorer, a construction worker’s average hourly wage is between $13.86 and $33.80. A top-level construction worker (90th percentile) earns the highest, while a starting-level worker (10th percentile) gets the lowest. Again, factors impacting the amount earned include education level, formal training, related experience, certifications, and other complementary skills.
A junior-level construction worker (25th percentile) gets a starting salary of $14.80. A mid-level worker (50th percentile) begins at $18.16, while a senior-level construction worker’s (75th percentile) salary starts at $23.10.
Now, how much does a construction worker make in a week? According to ZipRecruiter, the highest salary for construction workers is $1,135, while the lowest is $394. However, most workers in the field receive $798 at the 75th percentile and $596 at the 25th percentile.
How much do construction workers make a year?
The average annual salary for construction workers is $38,457. At the 90th percentile, workers earn $50,500. Junior-level construction workers earn $31,000, while their counterparts at the senior level receive $41,500. Based on the evident payment gaps, workers may make even more, depending on their location, experience, and skills. Check out this bitcoin calculator if you’re interested in converting a portion of your salary to cryptocurrency.
Factors Influencing Construction Workers’ Salary
When considering a profession in construction, it’s essential to understand the various factors that can influence wages. Salaries for construction workers can range widely, and are influenced by a myriad of components such as education, skills, experience, specialization, and location. Let’s delve deeper into each of these factors:
Not all construction jobs require formal education, but obtaining a degree or certification can significantly bolster a worker’s earning potential.
- Formal Education: Those with a college degree in construction management, civil engineering, or a related field might find themselves in a better position to negotiate their salaries. They possess a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical skills, which can make them attractive candidates for employers.
- Vocational Training: Learning a specialized skill at a vocational school can also be a valuable asset. Whether it’s masonry, carpentry, or electrical work, having a certification can lead to higher wages, particularly in fields where there’s a demand for skilled workers.
2. Experience Level
Experience undeniably plays a crucial role in the salary one can command.
- Junior Level: Entry-level workers or those with less experience typically earn less as they are still in the process of learning and honing their skills.
- Senior Level: As a worker gains more experience and proves their capability on the job, they move up the ladder and can demand higher wages.
- High Level: Workers who have spent years in the industry and have a proven track record of excellence can expect to earn at the top end of the scale.
3. Area of Interest
While many people associate construction solely with manual labor, the field is incredibly diverse.
- Physical Roles: Roles that require manual labor, such as laborers or masons, might have a different pay scale compared to managerial or specialized roles.
- Specialized Roles: Jobs like construction managers, elevator installers, and boilermakers often come with more responsibilities and require specialized skills. This specialization, in turn, often results in higher compensation.
Location can drastically affect the wages of a construction worker.
- Urban vs. Rural: Cities, with their higher cost of living and greater demand for infrastructure, typically offer higher wages than rural areas. There might also be union influences, more significant construction projects, or higher demand for specialized skills in urban areas.
- Regional Differences: Even within a country, there can be significant wage disparities based on the region’s economic health, demand for construction, and other local factors.
In summary, while construction offers a wide range of opportunities, potential employees should be aware of these influencing factors when considering their career path and negotiating their salaries.
How much does a road construction worker make?
Road construction workers earn between $41,028 and $50,568 annually.
Road construction employees are responsible for the road’s earthworks, substructure works, and pavement segment. They use one or more layers to cover the compacted earth. To finish a route, workers typically lay a stabilizing foundation of sand or clay first, followed by asphalt or concrete slabs.
Their average weekly salary is $882. Even so, the weekly wage ranges between $789 and $972. The hourly rate is $22 and $24. These figures represent the average wages in this profession. However, some states, including California, Alaska, and the District of Columbia, offer better payment at an average of $25.
How much does a construction estimator make?
As a construction estimator, one can earn an average salary of $74,758.
Estimators calculate the cost of building projects by factoring in labor, materials, and equipment. They will liaise with suppliers and obtain bids from subcontractors before compiling precise cost projections for a client.
The annual wage ranges between $66,339 and $85,512, and the hourly pay is between $32 and $41. Based on statistics by Indeed, some companies, like Coast Building Products, pay their construction estimators up to $161,549, making them one of the best-paying companies in this profession.
How much does a construction engineer make?
Construction engineers can make as much as $135,500 and as low as $25,500. However, most construction engineers earn $62,000 for junior-level workers and $93,000 annually for senior-level engineers. The top earners at the 90th percentile receive about $116,500.
A construction engineer is a project manager that designs and executes civil engineering projects. Because this is a manager-level role, substantial experience and academic credentials are necessary. The responsibilities of a construction engineer include drafting drawings, organizing a construction team, and supervising the building process. It also involves preparing budgets and schedules for each construction phase in addition to design obligations. They collaborate closely with other project directors and experienced craftspeople throughout the process.
The average hourly rate is $40. Even so, this rate falls between $12.26 and $65.14. The weekly wage falls between $490 and $2,606.
How much does a construction superintendent make?
The average annual construction superintendent salary is $82,183.
The function of a construction superintendent is to supervise all construction projects and operations, assuring satisfactory completion within a stipulated timeline. They are responsible for inspecting all sites, coordinating with contractors and engineers, managing the budget and expenditure, purchasing essential materials and equipment, and creating timetables. Aside from writing daily status reports, a construction superintendent tackles any difficulties or complaints. Furthermore, they must follow all safety standards and policies to keep everyone safe and healthy.
The lowest earner gets about $61,000, while the top-paid superintendents get $123,000. Junior-level employees earn $72,000, mid-levelers earn $87,486, and superintendents at the senior level receive $105,000 annually. The hourly rates are $34.62, $42.06, and $50.48 for junior to senior employees. Hawaii is the top paying state while San Francisco tops among cities.
How much does a construction project manager make?
The average salary of construction managers is $74,923.
Construction project managers supervise building projects, incorporating quality control, employee management, project completion timeline management, architectural design assessment, and proposal creation. They also meet with clients and company executives to discuss project development and progress and recruit contractors to complete the project.
Here’s an idea of how much a project manager makes at different levels of their career:
- Entry-level construction project managers with five years or less experience earn $52-62k a year.
- Project managers with five to 10 years of experience earn $75,000 annually.
- With 10-20 years of industry expertise, construction project managers typically make $84k annually.
Even so, these salaries may vary depending on someone’s location. For example, project managers in San Francisco earn about 45% more than their counterparts in other cities, and construction project managers in Atlanta receive about 6% below the average salary.
How much does a construction foreman make?
A foreman’s average annual salary is $69,819, while the hourly rate is $28.
A construction foreman is an expert who holds construction businesses and warehouses together. They collaborate closely with management to establish staffing requirements, deadlines for certain activities, and safety standards to be implemented among workers. They host on-site meetings and exercise their trade knowledge in this function, depending on what is most necessary in an industry context.
A junior-level construction foreman earns $45,000, and a senior-level foreman makes $67,500. The top earners receive about $80,500; some construction workers make as high as $90,500 and as low as $30,000.
How much does a construction manager make?
A construction manager makes between $60,000 to over $120,000.
A construction manager directs, coordinates, and oversees the construction of corporate, multi-family, or residential standard buildings such as apartments, flats, facilities, institutions, and hospitals.
They also communicate with clients and update them on budgets and the status of the residential buildings. Furthermore, they must be well versed in construction laws and regulations since they must be aware of building and safety norms and rules in the area in which they are working, as well as comply with legal requirements surrounding safe working procedures.
An entry-level construction manager makes about $55,000. A person’s salary dramatically depends on location, education level, and years of experience.
How much does a union construction worker make?
A union construction worker makes an annual average salary of $53,910.
A union construction worker is an individual who works as part of a construction team and performs various activities that frequently require physical labor on construction sites. His duties are generally similar to that of a construction worker, but the difference is that a union construction worker gets into the workforce courtesy of a union. The union negotiates their payment terms and all aspects regarding their employment, thus ensuring their safe working environment.
An entry-level worker makes $33,000, while seniors earn about $66,500. This profession’s lowest and highest payment is $20,000 and $100,000, respectively.
What are the highest-paid construction jobs?
There are plenty of career options for individuals aspiring to join the construction industry.
Here are some of the highest-paying construction jobs per ZipRecruiter.
- Site safety managers earn between $66,500 and $92,500
- Civil engineers earn between $65,000 and $89,500
- Construction superintendents earn between $60,000 and $89,500
- Elevator mechanics earn between $52,500 and $88,000
- Cost estimators earn between $47,000 and $86,000
- Safety managers and building inspectors earn between $56,000 and $81,000
- Construction inspectors earn between $46,000 and $71,000
- Electrical contractors earn between $30,500 and $70,000*
- Sheet metal workers earn between $30,500 and $70,000
- Surveyors earn between $37,500 and $69,000
- Elevator supervisors earn between $32,500 and $66,000
*Learn more about becoming an electrician here.
Construction Worker Compensation FAQs
Several questions arise when considering the question, “how much does a construction worker make?” Here’s a look at some of the most arising queries.
What are the top highest paying cities for construction worker jobs?
According to research by Construction Coverage, the following cities rank high in the compensation of construction workers:
1. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- The adjusted median wage for construction workers is $75,417
- The unadjusted median salary for construction workers is $77,830
2. St. Louis, MO-IL
- The adjusted median wage for construction workers is $71,000
- The unadjusted median salary for construction workers is $64,610
3. Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI
- The adjusted median wage for construction workers is $63,850
- The unadjusted median salary for construction workers is $60,530
4. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
- The adjusted median wage for construction workers is $63,674
- The unadjusted median salary for construction workers is $65,330
5. Cleveland-Elyria, OH
- The adjusted median wage for construction workers is $59,878
- The unadjusted median salary for construction workers is $53,950
What is a construction worker?
A construction worker is an individual who works with a construction crew to do different construction-related physical labor during various stages of a construction project. In a broader sense, the term ‘construction worker’ can also refer to other professions within this sector.
Their tasks cover clearing and prepping construction sites, erecting scaffolds, barricades, braces, and other makeshift structures, and running concrete mixers, drills, jackhammers, saws, and other tools.
What does a construction worker do?
Construction employees perform a wide range of construction-related tasks at all stages of construction. They work on all types of building projects, performing activities ranging from the simple to the exceedingly harsh and dangerous.
A typical construction worker will do the following:
- Tidies and prepares building sites by clearing debris and reducing potential dangers.
- Loads or unloads construction materials
- Builds or disassembles bracing, concrete barriers, forms, scaffolding, and temporary structures
- Digs ditches, backfills holes, or compresses earth to prep for construction
- Operates or manages machines and equipment, such as concrete mixers
- Assists other skilled artisans with their duties, e.g., roofers and carpenters
- Liaises with architects, designers, and other skilled laborers to ensure they meet the project’s requirements.
What are the qualifications for becoming a construction worker?
Below are some construction certifications and qualifications that will set you apart as a construction worker. If you have these qualifications, be sure to add them to your construction qualifications category on your resume.
High School Diploma
Most career paths require applicants to have a minimum qualification, a high school diploma. Even so, workers learn most of the skills on the job. However, one can improve their skills by enrolling in masonry, welding, mathematics, or any other field while still in high school.
Construction Manager Certification
A CCM certification in construction offered by the CMAA (Construction Management Association of America), combined with productive experience in the field, can set you apart from leading candidates vying for the same job. Learn how to become a certified construction manager here.
National Association of Safety Professionals (NASP) Certification
The NASP certificates focus on safety and the laws that effectively protect practical workers. These credentials mostly center on safety and danger awareness.
However, this institution also provides certifications in safety auditing and environmental management. As you gain expertise in construction, you may find yourself returning to the NASP qualifications to obtain something more particular.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Construction Certificate
This OSHA certification focuses on how well individuals perceive danger and follow the necessary protocols to ensure their safety. It also helps workers to discern when they can file complaints. Newbies in construction work can take a 10-hour study, while those with advanced experience can attend the 30-hour course.
At the end of this course, the institution will better determine an individual’s readiness to work in a busy site with potential dangers.
Silica Construction Certificate
This certification is fundamental to individuals who constantly use mechanical equipment like sanding machines and saws, releasing components that OSHA has classified as harmful.
This course is readily available online to help construction workers with the necessary skills to limit their exposure to silica and keep safe while at work. Since one can obtain this certification from various places, it is best to inquire about your employer’s preference.
What skills do you need to be a construction worker?
Construction workers require several skills for the optimal performance of their duties.
It helps the workers to communicate verbally with their colleagues and offer written communication whenever required. Mastery is also crucial in listening to instructions to complete tasks with precision.
Match skills are critical in taking measurements and converting them. Math skills also come in handy when calculating material prices.
Most duties performed by construction workers require them to be on their feet and may involve squatting, bending, lifting heavy loads, and standing for prolonged periods. One needs to be physically fit and have the endurance to perform optimally.
In most cases, workers may have to work with minimal instructions from their employer and without constant supervision. Self-drive is thus crucial in ensuring they deliver quality work within the stipulated period.
Most construction work happens in phases where completing one step sets the pace for starting the next stage. With proper time management skills, the workers remain within a set schedule and thus deliver as expected or beyond a client’s expectations.
Construction Worker Salary and Full Compensation Summary
There are almost limitless employment opportunities for anyone pursuing a career in the residential, commercial, and industrial construction industry. Generally speaking, a construction worker works on a construction site and can be responsible for several on-site tasks, such as removing debris, inspecting homes, erecting scaffolding, loading and unloading building materials, and assisting with operating heavy equipment. They can be involved in constructing commercial buildings, multi-family apartments, and single-family buildings like houses, schools, hospitals, or other related projects.
Construction worker salaries averaged $37,520 as of 2021. The median income or wage is when half the workers in an occupation earn more than that amount, and half earn less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,660, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $62,590. It’s essential to keep in mind your area’s cost of living expenses and how lower or higher wages may impact your situation.
If you’d like to explore the construction industry further, check out our posts on becoming a general contractor, career opportunities with the largest homebuilders, and how to find home builder jobs in the United States.