It seems as if there are myths or, at the very least, misconceptions about every career or professional industry: you can't trust a lawyer, doctors are only in it for the money, etc. The construction industry is no exception. Today, we're going to examine five of the most common myths that we hear about both the construction industry as well as construction workers. Feel free to add to the list by sharing some of the myths you've heard in our comment box.
- Anyone can get a job in the construction industry. In fact, most construction workers have some college education or they are considered skilled tradesmen. Construction is one of the only industries where employers continually pay for, host, and/or send their employees to receive continual training. Apprenticeships are highly competitive. From education regarding OSHA safety regulations to classes, seminars and conferences regarding the latest construction technology and innovation, construction professionals are constantly increasing their knowledge bank and skill sets. Workers interested in pursuing project management or other upper-level positions are often required to obtain a degree or further technical training. In a competitive market, especially the post-recession construction market, it can be very difficult for uneducated or inexperienced workers to find a job.
- Working in construction is dangerous. Sure, working in construction can be dangerous, but current safety standards and regulations have made the construction industry as safe as it has ever been. The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics states that fatal work injuries in the private construction sectors have decreased every year since 2006. Companies have learned that developing risk management plans, observing regular safety meetings, and keeping a continuous eye on safety decreases construction site accidents and injuries, which protects their bottom line. Also, tool manufacturers and equipment vendors are producing equipment with built-in safety features and hosting their own orientations, trainings and safety meetings, which further the cause of "Safety First."
- Most people work in construction because they can't get work elsewhere. Most construction professionals are exactly where they want to be. Construction offers a multitude of jobs for a variety of skill sets from planning and building to organizing and managing. Individuals who start in a trade when they are young receive more continual education and training than the majority of their professional counterparts. This is especially true when you consider that less than half of the workforce claims their job requires a college degree. Construction workers are employed an industry that is typically Monday through Friday, with regular working hours, and holidays off. They are also fairly compensated for overtime. Plus, it is very satisfying to work in a profession where you can work with your hands, as well as your head, and can to see the products of your labor on a daily basis. Not to mention, the majority of houses, bridges, roads, high rises, etc. you build will be there for decades - if not centuries - to come.
- Construction is a simple field comprised of people slinging tools. This couldn't be further from the truth. Construction begins long before a single construction worker and his/her tool ever arrives on the scene. City and town planners, economists, engineers and architects are not performing "simple" jobs. Neither are the trained and skilled workers who show up every day, using modern innovation and construction technology to build the world we live in. Construction requires a greater ability to "thinking outside the box" as well as in-the-moment problem solving skills that are not required in many other professions.
- Construction is a dead end job and there is no way to really become successful. Construction is a multi-billion dollar industry. From residential homes to grandiose hotels and high-rises, not to mention our complex transportation systems, there are plenty of opportunities for construction workers to get ahead and earn a very decent living. Consider that the median salary for construction project managers is $82,790 (BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook) and it is quickly apparent that professional success is a distinct possibility for construction professionals who are interested in working through the ranks. It is also one of the few job markets left where entrepreneurs and skilled workers who want to start their own company have the opportunity to grow a lucrative business.
What are some of the construction myths that you hear on a regular basis? Whirlwind Steel would love to hear them. Share them in the comment box below.