If you’re already working in construction, but are ready to go into a management position, you might be wondering what the next step is for you. There are many entry-level management positions in construction management, that allow you to put the tools down, but still utilise the skills and expertise you may have developed over years of experience in the construction field.
With an expected 1,263,900 jobs in the construction industry in Australia by 2025*, there is no better time than now to consider your options and upskill for your dream job. Some of the most valuable entry-level construction management jobs are contract administrator, building estimator, project coordinator, and site manager. Find out which pathway is right for you.
Entry-Level Career Pathways in Construction
The construction industry is a strong industry – in that it will always be growing and withstanding economic and societal stresses. In Australia, it generates over $360 billion in revenue, accounting for 9% of our Gross Domestic Product. This makes it a strong career choice for those looking at their long-term goals.
Labour Market Insights released new data relating to employment in the construction industry, solidifying it as a strong career choice. The data from LMI revealed that:
- Construction grew by 11.4% in the past year.
- The industry as a whole is expected to grow by 5.8% over the next five years
- Construction managers were the third-largest hiring occupations in the industry
- Average earnings in construction were higher than all the industry averages, with the average wage in construction at $1,305 a week
Each of the following entry-level managerial positions can lead you to more senior positions by giving you a taste of what ‘tools down’ work can look like.
A contract administrator oversees the planning, negotiation, and delivery of contracts on construction projects. They are responsible for ensuring that contracts are properly drafted and executed by both parties.
Contract administrators liaise with both clients and subcontractors to ensure that contracts are understood by all parties, overseeing the completion of these contracts, and dealing with any and all issues that can arise regarding the contract. This is a great entry-level construction option for those wishing to take a step back from the hands on work and still remain a valuable asset.
There are a handful of interpersonal, professional, and ‘hands-on’ skills required to be a contract administrator. To become a successful contract administrator, you must have excellent communication skills, strong organisational skills, and a good understanding of how contracts work.
Upon completion of the Certificate IV in Building Project Support (Contract Administration) (CPC40320), you will have the necessary skills to work as a contract administrator, with an average salary across this role of $115,000.
According to Seek*, contract administrators have an expected 8.8% growth in the next 5 years, giving it an added level of job security.
Building estimators provide estimates and costs for construction projects. They are responsible for planning and proposing the budget of plans and projects on building worksites, and work closely with managers and contractors to manage quotes and estimates.
Building estimators work on a range of construction sites, from residential to commercial, and even government projects. It is a mix of working independently, to working with many stakeholders and managers. This is why building and construction knowledge, along with soft skills such as great communication and interpersonal skills are necessary to succeed in this career.
The skills and responsibilities that come with this position also come with a competitive pay rate. Upon completion of the Certificate IV in Building Project Support (Estimator) (CPC40320), you will have the necessary skills to be a great building estimator, with an average salary of $90,000. Seek expects an 8.6% job growth over the next 5 years. This makes it ideal for those looking at their long-term career options.
Site managers oversee and manage the building project’s site requirements from start to finish. They may delegate tasks, coordinate the build, develop and execute project plans, advise on regulatory issues and uphold the work, health, and safety of the site.
While site managers aren’t on the tools themselves, they are working on the sites they manage. This career path suits those that really want to stay close to the action, but are ready to work in a more senior managerial role. Site managers need good project management and stakeholder management skills, as well as the ability to resolve problems efficiently on-site and within teams.
Pairing construction experience with the Certificate IV in Building & Construction (Site Management) (CPC40120) is the perfect way to build a solid foundation of skills and get your career started on the right foot. Upon completion, you’ll be able to work confidently as a site manager, with an average salary of $130,000*.
Foreman and Leading Hands
Both foreman and leading hands are roles that lead into site management. These are the very entry-level construction positions into site management. This can be useful if you’re not quite ready to jump into a management position. Whilst you’re studying your certificate, entering into either one of these positions can allow you to get a feel for the responsibilities and skills needed for site managers.
Project coordinators coordinate all aspects of a construction project, from scheduling, budgeting, and hiring subcontractors. They also ensure that everything goes smoothly for the workers on the site. Sometimes, they can work as a bridge between the project manager and the team. They can also be more focused on the administrational duties of a project.
Project coordinators in construction are the ones who ensure that everyone on site knows what they’re doing. They make sure everyone on site has the skills and tools needed to complete their job. This requires a high level of communication and interpersonal skills, as well as experience and knowledge of the construction industry.
After completing the Certificate IV in Project Management Practice (BSB40920), project coordinators can enjoy a salary of up to $85,000. Those in this field can also expect job growth of 8.8% over the next five years.
Construction project coordinator v Construction project manager
Project managers oversee the entire project, while project coordinators work underneath the manager. Project coordinators carry out the duties directed to them by project managers. Becoming a construction project coordinator is the stepping stone into construction project management. The skills needed for project management can be learned through a diploma qualification, as well as the experience they gain through project coordination experience. Many find project coordination gives them enough of both the hands-on of working on a construction site and managerial responsibilities.
Your career in construction doesn’t have to be primarily ‘on the tools.’ These entry-level jobs in construction management make the perfect pathway into more senior management positions. Find out more about pathways in your construction management career here, or enquire now to learn more about our construction management qualifications.