The Complete Career Guide to Management in Building and Construction

The Complete Career Guide to Management in Building and Construction

Have a successful career in building and construction management

Construction is one of the fastest growing and vast industries in Australia and provides extensive management opportunities. Within the industry, the work ranges broadly between commercial, such as hotels and large office buildings, and residential development.

In total, the national cumulative construction revenue is over $350 billion annually. Such large amounts of income equate to roughly 8-9% of Australia’s GDP, a considerable amount from a single industry.

In 2019, construction accounted for approximately 9% of all Australian jobs. Projections estimate that by 2023, there will be a further 120,000 new jobs in the industry. Click To Tweet

With such a high demand for this type of work, there is often not enough people with interest in the industry to pursue it as a career. As of 2019, over 1.5 million people had jobs in the construction industry. This translates to approximately 9% of all Australian jobs. Projections estimate that by 2023, there will be a further 120,000 new jobs in the industry.

The Hays Jobs Report shared Australia’s most in-demand construction positions, including:

  • Contract Administrators (civil and commercial)
  • Site Managers (civil and commercial)
  • Project Managers (civil)
  • Project Engineers (civil)
  • Estimators (commercial)

With so much demand, the industry requires people who can move from being on the tools every day, and who would fit well into a leadership or management position. There are a range of opportunities that someone looking to progress their career could investigate, some of which include:

  • Project manager
  • Site manager
  • Building surveyor
  • Construction planner

Along with these positions, there are plenty more possibilities if you are looking to move away from the daily risks of being hands-on in a construction site.

Entry points into building and construction

Carpentry Career Pathways

Carpentry careers offer a range of opportunities and experiences. As a carpenter, you may work in a variety of environments. Some of these include commercial carpentry, industrial carpenters, residential carpenters, bean builders, hardwood floor installers, and more. The possibilities are endless when it comes to this industry because the infrastructure that it creates is essential to daily life. With such differing pathways, carpentry is a career option that will keep you interested and stimulated.

Labourer to construction management

Being a labourer does not require any formal qualification or education to choose this as a career. The work requires hard physical manual work and requires a large amount of strength and fitness. Labourers may spend their days laying foundations, building walls, plastering, fitting windows, and much more. It is possible that after doing this job for several years, you no longer have the level of fitness to continue with the pace of the job, or you’ve simply outgrown your day-to-day tasks.
If this is the case, one option is to seek out a career in construction management. By the time you reach the point of wanting a career change, you will have a wealth of knowledge behind you that will benefit you. However, because labourers are not formally qualified, one way to help secure positions for yourself is first to seek out education that will get you certified for a management position.

Be a construction project manager by furthering your current construction career

Career progression in construction

You might be considering a shift in your construction career. Understandably though, it is difficult to know when the right time is to hang up your boots and tool-belt, and make a move to a more senior position within your industry.

There are plenty of reasons why someone may want to leave the conventions of day-to-day construction work, such as:


Injuring yourself in construction is not uncommon, cuts, scrapes, burns; they are all part of the job. In addition to the small, non-life-threatening injuries, are the big, career-changing ones that impact a person forever. Whether it is neck, shoulder or back injuries, if someone falls from a ladder or collapsed scaffolding – these are severe injury events that could change the course of your career.


At the most basic level, you might no longer be interested in the job you are doing. If you have been in your position for several decades, doing the same work daily, you have legitimate reasons to no longer feel stimulated by your career. This presents the perfect opportunity to make a change and challenge yourself to advance your career by doing something you might not have considered even a year ago.

Professional development

If you have spent your career up until this point working on construction sites to help meet deadlines for projects, then the chances are your days have been pretty consistent, perhaps even repetitive. By choosing to move to a different position within the industry, you are giving yourself the opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people, and further your professional development in new and engaging ways.

Feeling undervalued

It is possible that if you have been on the tools for many years, you are one of the most skilled workers on the force. In some cases, this could mean promotions are not coming your way because the people in positions above you don’t want to lose a worker with so much experience. You can change this by applying for more senior positions at other companies who will utilise your skills and knowledge and gear it towards a management position.

Better salary

One of the main benefits of progressing your career in this industry, is the increase in salary. Your time and experience give you the knowledge that people outside of the industry don’t have. You have the know-how from years of working on the tools to make a great leader in your field… and the pay rise won’t hurt either. Senior positions in the industry can look forward to average salaries like:

What's your Management Trajectory?

Are you wondering how far away you are from your next promotion? Take our quiz to assess your management career pathway.


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How to get out of construction

Further education is always is a positive choice to make when it comes to wanting to shift your career. You may have the experience, but if you don’t possess the relevant knowledge, it may be more difficult to advance to the places you want to go.

This is no different when it comes to building and construction.

If you have spent years working to build your hands-on knowledge, now is the time to contemplate whether a leadership role in your industry is right for you.

The College for Adult Learning offers a range of online diplomas and double diplomas that are incredibly valuable for someone wanting to progress upwards in their construction career.

Option 1: Project Management

If you are looking to move up into a management position, completing a course like the Diploma of Project Management is an excellent idea. You will learn valuable skills like managing budgets, applying for permits, creating operational plans, undertaking risk assessments, and much more. All of these skills will prepare you to move up the ladder in construction.

Option 2: Double Diploma

While the Diploma of Project Management will prepare you with the things you need, another option to fast-track your career is to complete a double diploma. The Double Diploma in Building & Construction Management (CPC50308) and Project Management will prepare you for the challenging tasks of a management position, while providing key information about future developments to the industry. When you complete both diplomas at once, you will learn about new technology, new processes, and more. Of benefit here is that there are several crossover units between the two diplomas, meaning you would have to do fewer units than you would if you decide to complete the two diplomas back-to-back.

The upside to both the above options is that you will be able to complete them in your own time and at your own pace. You will not have to sacrifice time on the job to earn your qualifications. Another bonus is that CAL’s diplomas are affordable while being highly respected in the industry.

Your career progression construction plan

There are many benefits to working in the construction industry. Even as an apprentice or an entry-level labourer, you will have a decent paycheck coming in. You have excellent job security because of the demand and current shortage of tradespeople. You will be doing a service to the community, by helping to build homes, schools, hospitals, roads, and other crucial infrastructure that society needs to operate and thrive. You will be able to create something of value that lasts and that you can be proud to tell others about. You will know that you have contributed to helping the community function at its most optimal level.

The positive news for everyone in the industry, or looking to get into the industry, is that there is a high demand for your services. You will be able to find the positions you are looking for, and you will succeed in your career plan if you have the right experience and education foundation to stand on.

By complementing your years of experience with new educational knowledge through the completion of a diploma, or double diploma, you will be setting yourself up for career progression success in construction.

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