HeadshotTara Callinan • 

best states for construction management jobs

Are you considering a construction management job? Are you unsure of where to settle down or what salary to settle on? This blog post outlines the best states for high-paying construction management jobs and key findings for you to consider before accepting a new offer.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 7.2 million construction jobs in July 2018 — the highest employment level for the construction industry in a decade — and there’s no sign the industry is slowing down. In fact, by 2026, the BLS predicts this number will grow to 7.5 million as the demand for new buildings and infrastructure increases.

To keep up with that demand, some construction and engineering firms are increasing annual salaries and hourly pay to attract skilled workers from competitors. Once this happens for construction managers, already at the top of the pay scale, interest may spark in management roles.

Earning an average of $91,370 per year, construction managers are among the highest-paid workers in the construction industry. Why? Because their roles and responsibilities are far more complex than the likes of a laborer, for example.

So, what is a construction manager?

A construction manager must plan, direct, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from pre-construction through completion. According to the BLS, construction managers do this for any task concerned with the construction and maintenance of a structure, facility, or system.

Typically, a high-paid construction manager will have a bachelor’s degree and prior construction experience. They’ll also need to stay up-to-date on new management techniques, technology advancements, and on-the-job training.

While some construction managers have a main office, the majority spend their time working from a second office on-site. For this reason, construction managers need to be able to think on their feet, quickly adapt to change or deadlines, and respond to emergencies in a timely manner. The reward for all of that hard work is an above-average salary.

What is the average salary for a construction manager?

In the U.S., the average construction manager’s salary is $91,370 per year or $44.93 per hour, according to the BLS. In states like California, however, some construction managers earn up to $117,770 — almost 30 percent more than the national average! To compare construction managers with the rest of the industry, here is a list of national averages from Construction Jobs for a variety of construction workers.

  • Construction Managers: $91,370 per year or $44.93 per hour.
  • Civil Engineers: $83,540 per year or $40.16 per hour.
  • Construction Estimators: $63,110 per year or $30.34 per hour.
  • Heavy Equipment Operators: $47,040 per year or $22.61 per hour.
  • Carpenters: $45,170 per year or $21.71 per hour.
  • Cement Masons & Concrete Finishers: $40,650 per year or $19.54 per hour.
  • Construction Laborers: $34,530 per year or $16.60 per hour.

What states have the most construction management jobs?

No matter whether you’re a construction manager employed full-time or a job seeker looking to move out of state, you might want to know where the most vacancies are. Here are the five states with the highest concentration of construction managers in America, plus average annual salaries for each state.

  1. Colorado; 8,650 construction managers; average salary of $97,170
  2. Oregon; 5,590 construction managers; average salary of $98,110
  3. Nevada; 4,280 construction managers; average salary of $94,350
  4. North Dakota; 1,350 construction managers; average salary of $109,640
  5. Alaska; 1,150 construction managers; average salary of $115,580

States with the highest salary for construction managers

In addition to knowing where to go, a construction manager seeking change might want to know where they’ll get the highest salary. Here are the five states offering the highest annual salaries to construction managers in America.

  1. New Jersey; 6,140 employed construction managers; $145,400 per year.
  2. Rhode Island; 310 employed construction managers; $132,750 per year.
  3. New York; 10,970 employed construction managers; $131,950 per year.
  4. Delaware; 580 employed construction managers; $124,000 per year.
  5. California; 32,420, employed construction managers; $117,770 per year.

best states for construction jobs

The cost of living factor

While it’s fair to say that New Jersey offers the ‘highest’ salary for construction managers, it may not be the ‘best.’ Before moving across the country to accept a new role in construction management, it’s important to account for the cost of living in each state. How? Use the cost of living index, which is a useful measurement allowing professionals to compare expenses between different locations, or in other words, apples to apples.

For example, the cost of living index in New Jersey is 121.9 (the base index being 100), and the average pay for a construction manager is $145,400.

So, $145,400 x (100/121.9) = $119,228.

As you can see, this calculation reduces the original salary by 18 percent — a pay cut that might make relocating less appealing to some construction managers. A full snapshot of the cost of living indexes per state can be found here.

Where to find construction manager jobs online

If you’re considering a career in construction management or looking for a high-paying construction manager job, there are plenty of online resources available, including:

The BLS predicts there will be 113,100 workers employed as construction managers across the country by 2026. To make that prediction a reality, construction and engineering firms must work hard to keep existing talent on the payroll, especially during one of the tightest labor markets the country has ever experienced. With 80 percent of construction firms having difficulty filling craft worker positions, the ability to retain employees has never been more important. Besides offering an attractive compensation package, here are four other ways to attract and retain construction workers.

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