There are some interesting, and sometimes conflicting, public perceptions about who can be a construction worker.
For example, construction is often stereotyped as a job that everyone can do. As many careers in these trades do not require a four-year college degree, construction work is seen as something that people without special skills or extensive education can find work in.
But in contrast to the idea that everyone can do construction, another stereotype is that construction is only a man’s job. Traditionally a male-dominated industry, construction is facing an uphill climb to become more diverse.
So construction is seen an easy-to-access job, yet opportunities in this field are also seen as being limited to a select group of people.
What’s the truth? Who can work in construction?
The construction industry is open to anyone interested in becoming a craft professional.
Regardless of your gender, race, ethnicity, religion or any other characteristic, you can find a career in construction.
On the surface, this might seem a bit surprising. When looking at the demographics of the current construction workforce, there are some numbers that indicate a lack of diversity. Only about 10% of the construction industry workforce is women, while Blacks (6%) and Asians (2%) are also underrepresented.
There are a number of factors that have led to this breakdown, including traditional portrayals of construction careers and other misperceptions. But in the modern construction industry, many of the factors that created these stereotypes in the first place are no longer valid.
Construction companies are eager and willing to hire skilled workers of any background. As a merit-focused industry, craft professionals are judged not on who they are, but rather what they can do. With a projected potential shortage of 1.9 million craft professionals through 2025, industry recruiters are working to showcase the opportunities in the skilled trades to new groups of people.
Anyone who wants to work in the building trades and is willing to train and practice can become a skilled craft professional regardless of who they are or where they come from.
But not everyone can work in construction – meaning that not just any random person can pick up a tool belt and go to work immediately.
It’s a common misunderstanding that construction work is unskilled labor that doesn’t require an advanced education and is thus something relatively easy to do. But while a bachelor’s degree is not required in most trades, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of training and education involved.
You wouldn’t want the house you live in or the school you attend to be built by people who weren’t skilled and capable, would you?
Many industry training programs and apprenticeships are extensive and can take just as long as a bachelor’s degree to fully complete. Many craft professionals apply specialized knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math every day in their job.
Construction work is not layman’s work. Pros in fields like welding, pipefitting, plumbing and electrical are all thoroughly trained and highly skilled.
The opportunities in the construction industry are open to any individual who wants to work hard, create with their hands, and contribute to incredible structures – no matter their background. But construction being accessible doesn’t mean it’s simple work that everybody can do without training and committing to honing their craft. Those who dare to build with grit, perseverance, ingenuity and drive can find success in a career in construction.