Many wonder what it’s like to be a construction worker. It’s probably the most blue-collar job Americans associate with – even though you don’t see many collars at all on construction workers. It is also a growing industry, although there is a shortage of workers. This is in part due to a bad reputation as well as a general disinterest of younger generations to go into the field. There is a misconception that construction is for the ill-educated and poorer classes. In contrast, construction actually offers a lot of high-paying level jobs, even at starting level. But construction does come with a heavy price. It can obviously be very dangerous work, and comes with a considerable amount of risks. Construction site accidents are common and can cause life-threatening injuries. Not to mention the many times that employers have taken advantage of construction worker rights.
The Good and the Bad
It is best to start off positive and mention why construction is not so bad, and more importantly, why it can do very well for those interested. Workers can get paid extremely well, especially if they are a part of a local union or complete an apprenticeship program. Non-union workers can have fair pay rates as well but there is a dark history of using illegal immigrants in unregulated work and abusing their rights. Construction workers can also bypass the typical 9-5 workday, and finish the day’s work by noon to midafternoon, though they may have to start a little earlier in the morning. And for those who don’t have the taste to dress up, that’s no problem either. You can go to work in whatever clothes you feel most comfortable in, as long as you wear the proper safety attire, such as boots and/or florescent colors.
The bad part? The most important concern is that it can be very dangerous. Even seemingly typical work such as maintenance or renovation can come with unexpected consequences that may need the help of a lawyer that specializes in construction accidents. To land up in an emergency room for any situation where you might get hurt not uncommon. Many construction workers develop long-term injuries that may not set in until a later age. Toxic chemicals and asbestos are also common risk factors that don’t seem an inherent threat, but can become deadly later on in life.
What is there to do?
There are also a diverse variety of fields in the construction industry. One of the highest paid job for workers without a degree is plumbing. The rate of growth is exponentially higher than the market average and wages are also increasing. Electricians come not too far behind with a median salary of $55,000. However, once you have a number of solid years in either field, salary averages are much more lucrative. There are also new and upcoming careers in the construction industry that match very well with the times, such as solar photovoltaic installers and wind turbine technicians.
Aside from thinking about construction as strictly a day job, it can also provide personal benefits. For example, 15% of all construction rentals are for personal projects. Many construction workers go off and create their own construction companies, build their own houses, and start their own projects. It is not merely a job, but can be a great life skill.. Whatever your interests, it’s worth breaking down the myths and facts about the construction industry and seeing for yourself if it’s right for you.