How to Earn More in the Construction Industry

What skills or qualifications could give you a leg up and help you earn more money and better perks? Australia’s construction industry has seen serious growth in the last few years, and there has never been a better time to position yourself to get ahead. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Know your health and safety

You might not think about “health and safety jobs” first when you consider jobs in construction, but these roles in construction environments grew by nearly 40 percent in the last year, and the industry is looking for more people to fill these roles. Government work projects in particular take these considerations very seriously.

It always pays to get all the training related to health and safety that you possibly can. This might mean getting an excavator operator licence or other heavy equipment licence that proves you know how to work safely with heavy machinery. It could also be specific health and safety regulation training so you can move into an oversight position.

Document your achievements

When you’re ready to ask for a raise, don’t assume that your boss know everything about what you’ve been doing. There are a lot of moving pieces in a construction project and it’s easy for managers and supervisors to lose track of who did what and when.

Make lists of extra qualifications and licences you’ve acquired, extra tasks you’ve accomplished outside your normal duties (such as things like operating standing drill presses), and any times you’ve performed particularly well for the company. This might be by stopping an accident, solving a problem, or putting in extra time to push through a project.

Think like a leader

If you want to get promoted, you have to get noticed. There are both good and bad ways to do this, so go for the good route. Good leadership is about service, not self, so think about how you can show leadership where you already are. When you get a new machine operator’s card, don’t show it off, but do encourage everyone else to improve their skill sets, too.

You should never be known as the “no” person. Become known as a “yes” person instead: a person who’s interested in taking on new challenges and willing to try things even if they aren’t technically in the job description. Have a can-do attitude and you will definitely get noticed.

Build your skills

Don’t just master the skills you need for the job you have; work on the skills you need for the job you want. Again, this might include getting special cards or licences to use particular machines. It might be gaining niche knowledge about an aspect of the industry that your company is weak on.

Don’t forget soft skills or transferrable skills, either. If you want to advance in construction, it really pays to know how to work in a team, how to communicate clearly in writing and in speech, and how to solve problems among people. You can gain these skills by taking classes, participating in professional development, and even taking on a hobby.

Work smart, not hard

Don’t misunderstand: “work smart, not hard” isn’t an invitation to laziness. Every company has some truly reliable employees that slog through the day working as hard as they can. You don’t necessarily want to be one of these people. Instead, you want to be the person who gets things done and is proactive about it.

We feel productive when we multitask, but statistics show that doesn’t actually work. You’ll get things done far more efficiently if you give them your full concentration and work at them until they’re accomplished. Once you’re getting more done in less time, you’re going to start attracting notice from above.

These are just a few of the ways you can increase your earning potential and broaden your skill set in ways that employers are looking for. You can get ahead, but you have to take the initiative to get there.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.