Highest Paid Occupations in Construction

October 10, 2019
Construction_worker_on_roof
Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst

Half of payroll workers in construction earn more than the U.S. median wage of $38,640, according to Bureau of Labor statistics for 2018.

Year over year, median wages in construction outpaced the national median wages, 3.2% vs. 2.5%. Wages of various construction laborers and helpers rose even faster, ranging from 6.7% for roofers’ helpers to 3.6% for construction laborers. Median wages of plasterers, stucco masons, floor layers, and tapers working in construction increased about 7%. Stonemasons saw their wages rise by over 6%. Their helpers and terrazzo workers got wage increases over 5%. 

Historically, subcontractor bids increase faster than construction wages, adding more inflationary fuel to housing prices. These findings are consistent with record high labor shortages reported by NAHB causing builders to pay higher wages and subcontractor bids and forcing them to increase home prices.

Among construction trades, elevator installers top the median wages list with half of them earning over $78,990 a year, and the top 25% making at least $100,720. The median wages for rotary drill operators is close to $70,000, with the top quartile of the pay scale earning over $77,610 annually. First-line supervisors of construction trades are next on the list, with half of them making over $64,600. Boilermakers are close fourth highest paid construction craft. Half of these craftsmen working in construction earn over $64,480, and the highest paid 25% bring in over $78,250.

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