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Who's Earning What in Construction

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Labor + Trade Relations

Who's Earning What in Construction

Workers in construction management roles may earn a higher median wage, but on average, lower-paid occupations have experienced somewhat faster wage growth

April 19, 2024
Construction worker wearing yellow hard hat with US dollars raining down around him
Image: Syda Productions / stock.adobe.com

The U.S. median wage is $48,060, while the top 25% of workers earn at least $76,980, according to data from the May 2023 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The OEWS publishes wages for almost 400 construction-related occupations, and of those, 46 are construction trades, while the rest are in finance, sales, administration, and other off-site activities. The National Association of Home Builders' analysis of OEWS data indicates that half of payroll workers in construction earn above $58,500 and the top 25% make at least $79,450. 

The highest paid occupation in construction is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) with half of CEOs making over $172,000 per year. Lawyers working in construction are next on the list with the median wages of $166,450, and the top 25 percent highest paid lawyers making over $221,220. Out of the next ten highest paid trades in construction, eight are various managers. The highest paid managers in construction are architectural and engineering managers, with half of them making over $145,180 and the top 25 percent on the pay scale earning over $176,270 annually.

Among construction trades, elevator installers and repairers top the median wages list with half of them earning over $103,340 a year, and the top 25% making at least $129,090. First-line supervisors of construction trades are next on the list; their median wages are $76,960, with the top 25% highest paid supervisors earning more than $97,500.

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