Construction managers
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Overview
Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from start to finish.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for construction managers are expected to grow by 11%, and should have about 34,800 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Construction managers are less likely to be automated than 78% of other careers.
Workforce size
Construction managers, with 403,800 workers, form a larger workforce than 89% of careers.
Education
Only 35% of construction managers have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by construction managers
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
More construction managers have bachelor's degrees than 60% of other careeers.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for construction managers is higher than 90% of all other jobs' middle salaries. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most construction managers.
This job's median $93KAll jobs' median $39K$92K$38K20142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 8% of construction managers -- that's a smaller percentage than 80% of other jobs.
Gender of construction managers
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For construction managers, the median men's salary was 9% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 8% of construction managers are minority, and 12% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of construction managers
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (12%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Construction Managers per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 36% of construction managers, and 52% have company-sponsored health insurance (18% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for construction managers
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of construction managers who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (76%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (68%)
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety (60%)
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People (37%)
  • Consequence of Error (34%)
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment (32%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do construction managers earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for construction managers, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for construction managers compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for construction managers (BLS Salary Data)
$93K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$93K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. We first show the full salary distribution for all construction managers, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for construction managers compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for construction managers (ACS Salary Data)
$66K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$66K$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where construction managers work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Construction managers (ACS)
Private for-profit (63.9%)
Private not-for-profit (1.1%)
Local government (1.9%)
State government (1.0%)
Federal government (0.7%)
Self-employed incorporated (14.7%)
Self-employed not incorporated (16.5%)
Working without pay (0.1%)
Distribution: Salaries of construction managers by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$66K$74K$60K$40K$84K$77K$68K$74K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000Self-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of construction managers by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$93K$96K$93K$85K$0$50,000$100,000$150,000$200,000State governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for construction managers

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$73K$63K$68K$57K$71K$73K$71K$67K$39K$0$50K$100K$150KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
020K40K60K80K100KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Construction managers and gender

With 8% women, this occupation has a lower percentage of women than 80% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
8%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Construction managers
Men (92%)
Women (8%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%. The situation is a little better for construction managers, with the median salary for men 9% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$61K$67K$0$50K$100K$150KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Construction managers have one of the smaller percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job lower than that for 75% of other jobs.

9%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of construction managers

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. There is a smaller percentage of minority construction managers than for 97% of other careers. The percentage of foreign-born workers in this career is near the middle of all careers.

Race/origin of construction managers
White (89% )
Black (3% )
Other (3% )
Asian (2% )
Multiracial (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (0% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
8%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
12%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for construction managers by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$46K$56K$63K$64K$67K$73K$0$50K$100K$150KOtherBlackHispanicMultiracialWhiteAsian
Distribution: Salaries for construction managers by nativity
$54K$68K$0$50K$100K$150KAll foreign-bornAll native citizens

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by construction managers

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), construction managers typically hold a bachelor's degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as construction managers as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for construction managers.

Education attained by construction managers
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for construction managers

Although there are various ways to enter this occupation, it is becoming increasingly important for construction managers to have a bachelor’s degree in construction science, construction management, architecture, or engineering. As construction processes become more complex, employers are placing greater importance on specialized education.

More than 100 colleges and universities offer accredited bachelor’s degree programs in construction science, building science, or construction engineering. These programs include courses in project control and management, design, construction methods and materials, cost estimation, building codes and standards, and contract administration. Courses in mathematics and statistics are also relevant.

More than fifty 2-year colleges offer construction management or construction technology programs. An associate’s degree combined with work experience is typical for managers who supervise smaller projects.

A few universities offer master’s degree programs in construction management.

Jobseekers with a high school diploma and several years of relevant work experience may qualify to become a construction manager, although most are qualified to become self-employed general contractors.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for construction managers

Although not required, certification is valuable because it can demonstrate that a person has gained knowledge and experience.

The Construction Management Association of America awards the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) designation to workers who have the required experience and who pass a technical exam. It is recommended that applicants for this certification complete a self-study course that covers the professional role of a construction manager, legal issues, the allocation of risk, and other topics related to construction management.

The American Institute of Constructors awards the Associate Constructor (AC) and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) designations to candidates who meet its requirements and pass the appropriate construction exams.

Some states require licensure for construction managers. For more information, contact your state licensing board.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for construction managers? Below we see the distribution of construction managers salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as construction managers, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$46K$60K$64K$64K$77K$83K$84K$0$50K$100K$150KNone (7%)High School (26%)Some College (24%)Associate's Degree (9%)Bachelor's Degree (28%)Master's Degree (6%)Professional Deg/Doct (1%)
Bachelor's degree pathways
College majors held by construction managers

This table shows the college majors held by people working as construction managers. Select any degree to see detailed information. We are able to connect careers to degrees using the American Community Survey (ACS), and their degrees are defined a little differently from our programs, which are based on standard CIP classifications. Therefore, selecting some degrees will lead to a selection of CIP-level programs from which to choose.

If you see "**" before the name of a degree/program, that means this field is one that the Department of Education believes is preparatory for this career. However, you can see from this list that those recommendations are far from your only path to this job!

Degree
Select any title to learn more about that degree
Percentage of Construction managers with this degree
Salary for all majors
Salary distribution (across jobs). Showing 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
Final education level of all people with this major
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Gender of people this bachelor's degree
Men
Women
13.7%
$0$200K$70K
11.3%
$0$200K$83K
5.9%
$0$200K$63K
5.5%
$0$200K$66K
4.1%
$0$200K$80K
3.8%
$0$200K$89K
2.5%
$0$200K$97K
2.0%
$0$200K$73K
2.0%
$0$200K$72K
1.8%
$0$200K$60K
1.7%
$0$200K$67K
1.3%
$0$200K$60K
1.2%
$0$200K$56K
1.2%
$0$200K$63K
1.1%
$0$200K$53K
The link between degrees and careers
The link between degrees and careers

With the following "sankey" diagram, you can follow the top ten bachelor's degrees held by people working as construction managers, and then, in turn, you can see the 10 occupations that hire the most of each degree's graduates. This visualization links fields of studies and careers, suggesting both similar careers and options for degrees. The full list of bachelor's degrees held by construction managers given in the previous section reminds us that there are many paths to these careers beyond what we can summarize here.

Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for construction managers

What jobs will most construction managers hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of construction managers reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Construction managersManagers (specialized areas)First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workersConstruction laborersCarpentersChief executives and legislatorsGeneral and operations managersElectricians
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for construction managers

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 6 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as construction managers as well as 1% of respondents after working as construction managers. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Lateral-move careers for construction managers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
General and operations managers
210,700
$0$200K$67K
Construction laborers
153,300
$0$200K$30K
Carpenters
113,800
$0$200K$34K
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
70,600
$0$200K$56K
Chief executives and legislators
24,000
$0$200K$96K
Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for construction managers: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as construction managers? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of construction managers surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for construction managers
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
General and operations managers
210,700
$0$200K$67K
1.1%
Construction laborers
153,300
$0$200K$30K
3.7%
Carpenters
113,800
$0$200K$34K
6.2%
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
13.0%
First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers
70,600
$0$200K$56K
6.1%
Painters and paperhangers
39,300
$0$200K$29K
1.0%
Construction managers
34,800
$0$200K$66K
34.4%
Civil engineers
25,900
$0$200K$81K
1.4%
Chief executives and legislators
24,000
$0$200K$96K
1.5%
No occupation
5.3%
Read about construction managers
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Construction managers typically do the following:

  • Prepare cost estimates, budgets, and work timetables
  • Interpret and explain contracts and technical information to other professionals
  • Report work progress and budget matters to clients
  • Collaborate with architects, engineers, and other construction specialists
  • Select subcontractors and schedule and coordinate their activities
  • Respond to work delays, emergencies, and other problems
  • Comply with legal requirements, building and safety codes, and other regulations

Construction managers, often called general contractors or project managers, coordinate and supervise a wide variety of projects, including the building of all types of public, residential, commercial, and industrial structures, as well as roads, memorials, and bridges. Either a general contractor or a construction manager oversees the construction phase of a project, but a construction manager may also consult with the client during the design phase to help refine construction plans and control costs.

Construction managers oversee specialized contractors and other personnel. They schedule and coordinate all construction processes so that projects meet design specifications. They ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. Some construction managers may be responsible for several projects at once—for example, the construction of multiple apartment buildings.

Construction managers work closely with other building specialists, such as architects, civil engineers, and a variety of trade workers, including stonemasons, electricians, and carpenters. Projects may require specialists in everything from structural steel and painting to landscaping, paving roads, and excavating sites. Depending on the project, construction managers may interact with lawyers and local government officials. For example, when working on city-owned property or municipal buildings, construction managers sometimes confer with city inspectors to ensure that all regulations are met.

For projects too large to be managed by one person, such as office buildings and industrial complexes, a top-level construction manager hires other construction managers to be in charge of different aspects of the project. For example, each construction manager would oversee a specific phase of the project, such as structural foundation, plumbing, or electrical work, and choose subcontractors to complete it. The top-level construction manager would then collaborate and coordinate with the other construction managers.

To maximize efficiency and productivity, construction managers often perform the tasks of a cost estimator. They use specialized cost-estimating and planning software to show how to allocate time and money in order to complete their projects. Many construction managers also use software to plan the best way to get materials to the building site.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of construction managers? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Analytical skills
Construction managers plan project strategies, handle unexpected issues and delays, and solve problems that arise over the course of the project. In addition, many managers use cost-estimating and planning software to determine costs and the materials and time required to complete projects.
Business skills
Construction managers address budget matters and coordinate and supervise workers. Choosing competent staff and establishing good working relationships with them is critical.
Customer-service skills
Construction managers are in constant contact with owners, inspectors, and the public. They must form good working relationships with these people and ensure their needs are met.
Decisionmaking skills
Construction managers choose personnel and subcontractors for specific tasks and jobs. Often, these choices must be made quickly to meet deadlines and budgets.
Initiative
Self-employed construction managers generate their own business opportunities and must be proactive in finding new clients. They often market their services and bid on jobs, and they must also learn to perform special home improvement projects, such as installing mosaic glass tiles, sanding wood floors, and insulating homes.
Leadership skills
Construction managers must effectively delegate tasks to construction workers, subcontractors, and other lower level managers.
Speaking skills
Construction managers must give clear orders, explain complex information to construction workers and clients, and discuss technical details with other building specialists, such as architects. Self-employed construction managers must get their own projects, so the need to sell their services to potential clients is critical.
Technical skills
Construction managers must know construction methods and technologies, and must be able to interpret contracts and technical drawings.
Time-management
skills
Construction managers must meet deadlines. They ensure that construction phases are completed on time so that the next phase can begin as scheduled. For instance, a building’s foundation cannot be constructed until the land is completely excavated.
Writing skills
Construction managers must write proposals, plans, and budgets, as well as document the progress of the work for clients and others involved in the building process.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for construction managers
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) salary for construction managers was higher than 90% of all other jobs' middle salaries. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $93KAll jobs' median $39K$92K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$50K$100K$150K$200K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for construction managers are anticipated to grow by 11% over the next decade; only 23% of jobs are predicted to grow more.

The projected employment for construction managers is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

20002010202020300200,000400,000600,000800,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most construction managers? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as construction managers. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Construction Managers per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
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0.01.02.03.04.0
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where construction managers earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for construction managers compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for construction managers.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Median salary ratio: Construction Managers to all workers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which construction managers earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.01.02.03.0
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Construction managers (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
Choose the similarity measure to compare careers
Interests
Environment
Knowledge
Physical Abilities
Jobs that are similar by Interests and Salary (All education levels)
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