Career Development

What Does a Construction Laborer Do?

Find out what a Construction Laborer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a Construction Laborer.

Construction laborers are the boots on the ground in the construction industry. They do the hard work of building, repairing and renovating our homes, businesses and other structures. Their job is physically demanding and often dangerous—they’re regularly exposed to heavy equipment, sharp objects and a variety of chemicals and materials.

Construction Laborer Job Duties

Construction laborers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Operating construction machinery such as forklifts or bulldozers to move materials to different locations on a job site
  • Clearing away debris and trash from work sites, using rakes, shovels, brooms, or blowers
  • Installing plumbing fixtures and fittings, including PVC pipe, valves, and fittings
  • Operating cranes and other heavy equipment to move construction materials to the appropriate locations on a job site
  • Cleaning up work sites and performing other cleanup duties to ensure that job sites are safe and orderly
  • Operating power tools such as circular saws and nail guns to cut wood or other materials
  • Installing drywall, wallboard, or acoustical ceilings, often with scaffolding or lifts to reach high areas
  • Installing electrical wiring, junction boxes, light fixtures, switches, outlets, and other components to electrical systems
  • Installing windows and doors, cutting holes in walls for pipes or vents, or removing old siding or other materials

Construction Laborer Salary & Outlook

Construction laborers’ salaries vary depending on their level of experience, the type of construction project they are working on, and the region in which they are working.

  • Median Annual Salary: $41,500 ($19.95/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $80,500 ($38.7/hour)

The employment of construction laborers is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Employment growth will be driven by the need to repair and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and water systems. In addition, many new buildings and other types of infrastructure will be constructed over the decade.

Related: In-Depth Construction Laborer Salary Guide

Construction Laborer Job Requirements

A construction laborer may be required to have the following:

Education: While there are no specific education requirements for a construction laborer position, many employers prefer to hire candidates who have a high school diploma or GED certificate. Some employers may also require candidates to have completed some post-secondary education, such as an associate’s degree or vocational training.

Training & Experience: Many construction laborers learn the specific skills and knowledge they need for their role while on the job. Training for this role typically includes shadowing a current laborer for a few weeks to a month. The training period allows the new laborer to learn the specific skills and techniques they will need to complete their daily tasks.

Certifications & Licenses: Some employers may require employees to pass an industry-specific certification to show their general understanding of the field.

Construction Laborer Skills

Construction laborers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication is another important skill for construction laborers to have. They often work in teams and need to be able to clearly communicate with their coworkers. They also need to be able to communicate with their supervisors and managers to understand instructions and to ask questions when needed.

Attention to detail: Having attention to detail is an important skill for construction laborers to have. They need to be able to notice small changes in measurements and other details to ensure that the construction site is following the plans correctly. Attention to detail can also help them notice potential safety hazards and other issues that may arise during the construction process.

Physical stamina: Physical stamina is the ability to sustain prolonged physical activity. As a construction laborer, you may be required to lift heavy materials and equipment, work in cramped spaces and stand for long periods of time. Having a high level of physical stamina can help you complete your work duties efficiently and safely.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills allow you to identify issues and find solutions. As a construction laborer, you may be responsible for ensuring that a project runs smoothly. This means you may need to identify and solve any issues that arise. Your ability to solve problems can help you complete tasks and ensure the safety of yourself and others.

Teamwork: Construction laborers often work in teams, so it’s important for them to be able to work well with others. Teamwork skills can help you communicate with your coworkers, share responsibilities and complete tasks efficiently.

Construction Laborer Work Environment

Construction laborers work on all types of construction sites, performing a variety of tasks that may include digging trenches, mixing concrete, erecting scaffolding, and cleaning up after the job is completed. They work outdoors in all types of weather and may be exposed to hazardous materials and equipment. Construction laborers typically work 40 hours per week, but overtime is often necessary to complete a project on time. They may work early mornings, evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Construction Laborer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how construction laborers work. Construction laborers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Skilled Laborers

The construction industry is facing a shortage of skilled laborers, which is causing delays and cost overruns on projects. This trend is likely to continue as the demand for new buildings increases.

To meet the needs of clients, construction companies will need to hire more qualified workers who can handle complex tasks. Laborers can take advantage of this trend by becoming certified in specific trades, such as plumbing or electrical work. This will make them more valuable to employers and help them stay ahead of the competition.

More Focus on Sustainability

As the world becomes increasingly concerned about sustainability, the construction industry is beginning to focus more on green building practices. This means that contractors will need to be familiar with a variety of methods for reducing energy use and water consumption in their projects.

Construction laborers can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in sustainable building techniques. This includes understanding how to use renewable energy sources, recycle materials, and reduce water usage. In addition, contractors who are able to implement these practices into their projects will be more competitive when bidding on jobs.

A Growing Demand for Construction Management

The construction industry is growing rapidly, and with it the demand for construction management professionals. As more and more projects are completed, the need for managers who can oversee the process and ensure that it runs smoothly will only increase.

Construction laborers who are interested in moving up the ladder should consider becoming certified in construction management. This will allow them to demonstrate their expertise and set themselves apart from the competition.

How to Become a Construction Laborer

Construction laborers have a lot of opportunities for growth. They can move up the ranks to become superintendents, project managers, or construction managers. They can also specialize in different areas of construction, such as carpentry, masonry, or electrical work.

To advance their careers, construction laborers should take courses in math and science, which will help them understand how buildings are constructed. They should also learn about building codes and safety regulations.

Related: How to Write a Construction Laborer Resume

Advancement Prospects

Construction laborers and helpers typically learn their trade on the job. Many workers start out as helpers. As they learn the skills of the trade and demonstrate their competence and dependability, they are promoted to construction worker. Some experienced construction workers may become supervisors.

Most construction workers need a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training that typically lasts a few weeks to a few months. Some states and localities require construction workers to be licensed as well.

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