“My mother would kill me.” That’s the response I was given when I asked an unemployed friend why they wouldn’t consider working in the construction industry. There’s a stereotype associated with working in this field, and these faulty and negative attitudes need to shift. Working in the Architecture/Engineering/Construction industry right out of college has been rewarding, exciting, and great for professional development. I am eager to change the attitude towards this industry so my peers stop thinking it is undesirable. Here are eight reasons why any millennial (or really anyone) should look into a career in the construction industry:
1)The Colorado Construction Industry is BOOMING
It’s not slowing down. In fact, the only thing slowing this industry down is that the unemployment rate is so low– the Denver Post reported 2.4% in November of 2016 ( Svaldi). Check any contractor’s website and you’ll see job posts for a large variety of positions. The great thing is college education isn’t necessarily needed for a well-paying job. In 2016 hourly construction jobs averaged $27.49 an hour (Svaldi). The current minimum wage in Colorado is $9.30 for the untipped worker. I have friends without a college education in their twenties claiming they can’t find a better paying job than their retail job for $15 an hour that doesn’t provide them with any kind of benefits. Take a look into the AEC industry, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. As many as 30,000 employees are in demand in the construction industry as it continues to grow, with plenty of positions and career paths (Build Colorado).
2) The Technology
The technology in this industry is developing and changing everything for the best. For example, Virtual Design Construction is one of the newest trends that implements virtual reality into a construction tool. This industry needs tech-savvy people to join, adopt the technology, implement it, and then grow with it. Construction needs gamers, coders, computer geeks, and other tech savvy millennials to jump in and harness the power and potential of these new technologies.
I can’t say enough about the networking in this industry. If you’re looking for a job, a mentor, furthering education, professional development, or strong connections, this is the place. In college, I branched out and joined a few different professional associations in the advertising field to get my feet wet. Although the associations had good intentions of integrating me into the culture, creating connections, and educating me, they fell short. As a Business Development Coordinator for a local general contractor I joined a variety of associations in the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction industry. Through theSociety of Marketing Professional Services(SMPS), theAssociated General Contractors(AGC),American Institute of Architects (AIA), and theUrban Land Institute(ULI), I’ve made some of the best connections, increased my understanding of the industry, and had fun.
4) Room for Growth
You won’t get bored. There’s always something new to learn. You’ll have new projects, new locations, new teammates through other companies, and there’s so much potential to grow. People work in this industry their entire lives, and they love it. Male or female, there’s great opportunity to move up the ladder in construction.
There’s something special about going to a grand opening with your team after a project is finished. Your efforts in this industry are visible. There’s nothing like constructing a building, standing back, and feeling like you’ve accomplished something larger than yourself. Whether your team is constructing roads, school buildings, grocery stores, hospitals, or skyscrapers, you’re forever changing the landscape and people’s lives for the better.
6) In the Office and Out
I’m not just talking about swinging a hammer.This industry needs everything and everyone– creatives to elevate the marketing efforts, accountants, office administration, financial officers, skilled managers, tech-savvy engineers, and hard workers. If you don’t want to be stuck in an office building, this is a great industry for you. However, if the 9-5 office life is your dream, you’ll find that here as well.
7) Construction for Women
I briefly mentioned pay already, but one fact I want to focus on is that the gender gap in this industry is only 7.6% (NAWIC). It may not be where it needs to be yet, but it’s better than the average of 17.9% elsewhere. The number of women in the industry is still relatively small; in 2014 US-wide only 8.9% were women. If you’re a woman interested in a career in construction, theNational Association of Women in Construction(NAWIC) is a great place to start.
8) Entry Programs & Education
College might not be an option or even a desire, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare and educate yourself other ways. Here are a few options for you to look at:
Construction Careers Nowis a four-week introduction to the industry with a hiring fair at the end. There is no cost to participate, no loans, and no experience required. I’ve had friends join this program and find a job in three weeks.
Independent Electrical Contractors Rocky Mountain(IECRM)is a training facility for Journeymen. Here you can receive 288 hours of classroom training that will meet the state requirement and prepare you for the Journeyman licensee exam. After completion, participants look at career options such as estimators, project managers, foremen, project engineers, and more.
AtCAD-1we offer a variety of software classes that are used in the Architecture/Engineering/Construction industry every day. If you’re looking to boost your career, considering diving into new skill sets and optimizing your work flow, start at CAD-1.
Can you think of other appealing reasons to join the industry? Comment below.
CAD-1 Marketing Coordinator
Program Overview.” Build Colorado. Associated General Contractors of America, n.d. Web. 14 June 2017.
Svald, Aldo. “Ultra-low construction unemployment a drag on state economy.” The Denver Post. The Denver Post, 04 Nov. 2016. Web. 14 June 201
“Statistics.” NAWIC. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 June 2017.