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How to Become a Construction Manager - Career Salaries, Job Stats & Education

How to Become a Construction Manager - Career Salaries, Job Stats & Education

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Looking for a Career in Building and Construction?

If you’re thinking of becoming a Construction Manager or a Builder where you will plan, organise, direct, control and coordinate the construction of civil engineering projects, buildings and dwellings, and the physical and human resources involved in Building and Construction, here is everything you wanted to know. 
Careers in Building and Construction are a great place to develop your technical, negotiation and time management skills, work on a variety of exciting projects and even build your own business. With the right study and training behind you, you can be a success in any one the many available Construction careers and Site Manager jobs available today. 

Building and Construction Careers & Job Outlook


The graph shows historical and projected (to 2023) employment levels (thousands) for this occupation.

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.

Between 2018 and 2023, the total number of workers is set to rise from 100,900 to 114,300. This growth is a positive thing for jobseekers, indicating that the sector is performing well and that jobs availability will rise steadily.

Each year until 2023 we expect to see 10,800 new job openings each year for a total of 54,000 new jobs. This means high growth is to be expected through a combination of new job creations and staff turnover.

Thinking of becoming a construction manager? It doesn’t matter where you’re located in Australia – jobs are available in most regions throughout the country.  

Areas in Building & Construction:

  • Builder
  • Construction Manager
  • Foreman
  • Site Supervisor
  • Casual labourer
  • Apprentice

Becoming a Construction Manager: Salary

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.

The above figures indicate the average salary earned by construction professionals compared to the median wage averaged by all other job roles in Australia. Note: These figures are indicative and cannot be used to determine a particular wage rate when becoming a construction manager. 

Jobs in Construction and Site Manager roles enjoy earnings of around $1719 per week when working fulltime hours. This is significantly higher than the ‘all jobs average’ figure of $1230. To summarise, this means on average you can earn an additional $489 per week, or $1956 per month. lists the wage for Construction Managers (in Sydney, mid-career) as being between a median of $110,006 per annum and $176,000 at the highest end of the market.

Please note: For roles in Building and Construction, rates of pay will vary depending on the type of business and the type of environment.             

Full-Time or Part-Time Career in Building and Construction?                                  

According to the Government’s Job Outlook career outlook, jobs in building and construction are more commonly full time as opposed to part time – with 91.2% of workers in full time roles as opposed to the all jobs average of 68.4%. Part-time work is likely harder to find in this sector.

Construction Managers Age Profile

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2017, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.

This data shows the share of employment in percentage by age profile, when compared against all other occupations. Careers in Building and Construction are most highly represented in the 45-54 age bracket, with around 25.7% of workers in this age group. However, there are 25.2% of workers in the 35-44, making it another statistically significant age range for workers.

Construction Manager Education Levels

Source: *Job Outlook Government website. ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.

Available data for Construction Manager jobs shows that the highest educational attainment achieved by most people working in this profession is a Certificate III/IV, with 47.9% of total workers holding this as their highest level. Just 16.7% of Construction careers held a Bachelor’s Degree – showcasing the lessening importance of university level education in this field.

Trends in Building & Construction

Overall building work has dipped in 2018 but is expected to rise again in 2019. According to the ABS: "The trend estimate of the value of total building work done rose 0.4% in the September 2018 quarter. The seasonally adjusted estimate of the value of total building work done fell 2.7% to $29,866.2m in the September quarter, following a rise of 2.4% in the June 2018 quarter.”

In terms of residential building work, "The trend estimate of the value of new residential building work done rose 0.9% in the September quarter. The value of work done on new houses rose 1.1%, while new other residential building rose 0.7%.”

"The seasonally adjusted estimate of the value of new residential building work done fell 3.3% to $15,451.1m. Work done on new houses fell 4.6% to $8,168.1m, while new other residential building fell 1.8% to $7,282.9m." 

What Construction Management Qualification Do You Need?

Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Building)

Tap into this booming industry and become a licensed builder, site supervisor or construction manager. In this course, you will learn how to plan, coordinate, execute and work on residential and low-level commercial buildings. This nationally recognised Certificate IV will provide you with fundamental knowledge and skills to begin your career in Building and Construction

Diploma of Building and Construction (Building)

Integrate your knowledge of Building and Construction with project management - combining the project management training with the skills to plan, coordinate, execute and finalise the construction of medium rise buildings.This Diploma will equip you for work as a site manager, licensed or registered builder or project manager. Perfect for busy people, this Diploma is delivered online so there are no classes to attend, meaning you study where you want to at a time that is convenient to you.

Building and Construction (Western Australia)

Developed specifically to meet licensing education requirements in Western Australia, Open Colleges’ Diploma of Building and Construction will help you to get off-the-tools and take the next step in your career.

Why Study Building and Construction through Open Colleges?

Our Building and Construction courses are delivered online, giving you the flexibility of organising your study around your life. You can enrol any time of the year and study at your own pace. 

Among other things, you'll learn how to manage projects and budgets, get introduced to the construction industry and learn how to use construction tools and materials. 

Your course includes comprehensive student support to help you throughout your study. Some of the diplomas and certificates allow you to graduate with a government-accredited, nationally recognised qualification that can boost your chances of employment. 

Building & Construction Manager Interview , Business Owner

Michael Papalia


Sailsbury Heights, Adelaide SA

 How did you get into a career in construction? 

While I was in Year 10 at school, a construction careers course came up, allowing students to choose carpentry, plumbing, electrical and all these other building and construction trades.  

I saw this opportunity and jumped straight into my apprenticeship - and working on odd site manager jobs by the time I was 20.

Is there much demand for building and construction jobs?

I’m based in Adelaide and I’ve had a job opportunity pop up in Sydney - so the demand is definitely there.

My sister in Sydney she said that they’re screaming out for people in building and construction as well as tradies! That was another reason I wanted to get into a trade, knowing there’s a shortage of jobs in construction and trying to help the industry.

How was it setting up your own career in building and construction via a business?

I think there are a lot of factors that you need to consider before you even want to start your own company. Working in building and construction is quite hard, so you need experience to know how to combat every single task. The more types of site manager jobs and other jobs in construction you can do, the more money you’re going make! Setting up good accounting and admin structures and hiring good people is also a must for all careers in construction.

Before having your own building and construction business, did you work in other jobs in construction?

Yes, I did my construction apprenticeship, specialising in plumbing, and worked consistently for the four years of my apprenticeship, plus one year after that. After leaving that job, I worked for a big maintenance company.  I was there for two years, moving on to another company that did probably 20% construction, 80% maintenance.

Are there more people pursuing careers in construction over the last decade?

Working for someone else’s company doing various jobs in construction, I found consistent work coming in. For the first five years, careers in building and construction boomed, then it slowed down for about a year, but the maintenance side of things was always consistent.  

What personality traits do you need to excel in building & construction jobs?

Be an honest person. If you make a mistake or if you’ve done something wrong, own your work.The second one for success in any of the careers in construction would probably be respectful. Making sure you are respecting other people’s trades and tools. Communication is another key interpersonal skill. If you communicate with everyone and you let people know where you are, that’s important for excelling in all building and construction jobs you’re passionate about. 

Thanks Michael, for sharing your story with Open Colleges.

Ready to take the next step towards your career in Building and Construction?

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