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Building and Construction Graduate Jobs - Careers Guide

Contents :

The construction industry covers all manner of infrastructure, as well as social and industrial building work and the maintenance of existing buildings.

At a graduate level there are many areas of the construction industry that you could go into. Options include:

  • Planning/ design/ architecture
  • Surveying/ inspection
  • Structural engineering
  • Project management
  • Engineering construction

Jobs in the construction sector are largely based on teamwork – you will almost certainly be working with many other people in order to ensure the safe and on time completion of projects.

New technologies, especially with regards to the environment, mean that the construction industry is evolving very quickly. Those working in the construction sector should be increasingly aware of the developments talking place, and be prepared to keep up with the fast pace of progress.

Although the construction sector was affected by the economic downturn, levels of output by 2015 are expected to be higher than the 2011 levels - so there is definite room for graduates in the construction industry.

What degree do I need?TOP ^

Certain roles in the construction industry, for example project management, do not require a specific degree - although to get on a graduate scheme in construction you are likely to need a 2.1 or higher. Roles such as management require a degree as they prove that you can time manage, communicate and complete tasks to a high standard and on time - these are skills offered by the majority of degree programmes.

If you go into a specific area however, such as design, you will need a 2.1 in the appropriate field - so in this case, the most obvious would be a degree in architecture, as this would have given you the exact skills required for construction design work. Likewise, if you become a structural or civil engineer only an engineering degree will suffice.

What skills do I need?TOP ^

Because jobs in construction are of such a varied nature, the skills that are required for one may not be the same as what are required for another. If you are in the architecture or design side of the business, for example, you will need to display and utilise the creative and technological skills that you picked up during your degree. If you are in a project management role any creative skills you have will be put to less use, but your talents in diplomacy, management and forward-planning, as well as your interpersonal skills, will be crucial.

As a general rule, however, all those employed in the construction sector, as well as in property and facilities, should have the following skills:

As a general rule, it is likely that you will have been taught these general skills during your degree.

It is also important that all those working in construction have an awareness of green issues and the impact that their projects could have on the surrounding environment, both built and natural, and its people. This area if knowledge is increasingly important as those developing new builds trying harder than ever to keep up with their green credentials.

What graduate construction job can I do? TOP ^

There are a huge number of graduate jobs in construction, across a variety of different areas. Within the different sections that make up the construction industry, which includes design/ architecture, surveying, civil/ structural engineering, project management and engineering construction, you may find yourself in the following positions, although this list is not exhaustive:

  • Architect
  • Surveyor - building, commercial, residential or quantity
  • Engineer - civil, electrical, building services or
  • Safety advisor
  • Facilities manager

In terms of graduate engineering jobs, you may be contracted to a particular job or you may work as a consultant, advising on the best possible practises. There are various roles within the construction engineering sector: electrical engineers design the electrical systems and ensure they are safe, functional and to specification, while civil engineers supervise the development of the whole project and building services engineers are responsible for the design, functionality and upkeep of services within an existing building.

There may be opportunities to travel or work abroad within the construction sector.

Graduate jobs in construction may be found in consultancies, construction companies, property companies, local authorities (for example with schools or social housing) and across the public and healthcare sectors.

Average construction salariesTOP ^

Salaries in the construction sector vary greatly depending on which particular job or part of the industry you are in.

Architects may begin on as little as £15,000 (whilst they are still completing the first part of their training), although this could be as higher as £20,000 at the same level. Senior level architects could earn anywhere between £35,000 and £80,000 - where you fall on this scale with depend on the prestige of your company, your location (salaries are highest in London) and whether you have achieved Chartered status.

Similarly in quantity surveying, starting salaries could be between £19,000 and £25,000, with senior surveyors expecting £50,000+ and those working or managing in the private sector taking home far more than this.

Engineers also earn good salaries - a consulting civil engineer may begin on around £23,500, but later reach around £80,000. The average wage is £48,600, and those working in London may earn around £25% more – showing the clear importance of location within the payscale of the engineering sector.

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