How much does a construction manager make? (Plus duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 3 January 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Construction management salary is variable and based on location, experience and organisation. Some construction managers may earn more than others if they have a certification, for example. Knowing the average salary and how to increase this through personal development can help you maximise your earnings as a construction manager. In this article, we answer the question 'How much does a construction manager make?', look at the range of salaries available in construction management and how you can increase what you earn in this field.

How much does a construction manager make?

Before answering the question 'How much does a construction manager make?', it's useful to consider what these professionals do. Construction managers handle the pragmatic side of the industry. They work alongside building surveyors, architects and various other building professionals to ensure that both safety regulations and time frames are met and within budget. Their responsibility is often of considerable scope and importance. They may oversee a whole construction site at once or multiple parts of larger industrial complexes. Ultimately, they coordinate all employees on-site and ensure that they're all working towards the same end.

Salaries can vary dramatically depending on your location, your employer and the scope of the project. Most large construction projects occur within established urban areas such as London, Manchester or Leeds and the exact environment in which you're working may have an impact on your salary. The average national salary for a construction manager is £53,098.

Salaries, degrees and experience

Construction managers in junior positions make significantly less than those with more experience. A large number of roles you apply for in construction management may require a relevant degree or a Higher National Certificate (HNC) qualification. Recruiters may also want to see that the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has accredited them. Graduates have an average salary of £10,000 more than non-graduates. Holding a degree is beneficial in any sector and a good way to statistically increase your salary.

Related: How to become a project manager

Starting salary

The starting salary for a beginner construction manager is £27,000 per year. At this level, you have likely just graduated from a university course or sponsorship program. Your main focus at this point is gaining experience. You may also choose to specialise in areas such as industrial or residential construction for more specialised job roles in the future. Increasing your level of responsibility and identifying specific areas of the job that you have a talent for is essential at this point. In this way, you can find steady professional progress and improve your wage.

Related: How to write a builder CV (with example)

Experienced

The average national salary for an experienced construction manager is £53,161 per year. Your salary can be significantly higher if you have a chartership. You require at least ten years of experience before you can begin work on more complex construction projects, which includes large-scale industrial projects. After you have gained more experience, the next step in your continued professional development is to seek a CIOB chartership.

How to boost your salary

Engaging in different kinds of professional development is essential to gaining more experience and ultimately increasing your wage. Activities such as continued professional development are imperative, as is attending networking events to help boost your client base. Besides providing an almost immediate rise in your salary, you can use these opportunities to connect with other industry professionals and find further work opportunities through institutions such as the CIOB. Here are some ways in which you can boost your income as a construction manager:

1. Consider relocating

The average salary for construction management is closely dependent on your geographical location. If you're in a position to leave the town or city that you currently live in, then you can potentially increase your earnings by relocating. The three highest-earning cities for a construction manager are:

  1. Guildford (£70,402 per year)

  2. London (£60, 917 per year)

  3. Manchester (£56, 250 per year)

2. Apply for a promotion

In terms of climbing the career ladder for construction management, the highest role you can gain is that of a senior construction manager. This role is similar to that of a normal construction manager but may require increased responsibilities. These can include travelling to more building sites and overseeing other less senior construction managers.

3. Consider the project you're working on

The type of project you're working on also has a direct impact on your earnings. Although significantly more stressful, and requiring a minimum of ten years of experience, large industrial projects are the most lucrative. In contrast, residential projects are more common for those starting out in the industry and have lower pay. It's also possible for you to specialise in a certain area such as residential building, which can provide you with higher-paying roles in the future.

Related: How to write a project manager cover letter (with examples)

4. Take a short course

Short courses are an effective way to train you in matters such as new legislation or updates to technology because they're typically short and you can usually complete them online. Some systems used on construction sites may be more common than others, so they can provide you with a good level of transferable knowledge. Short courses include modules on technical issues such as mass timber construction and issues of environmental concern such as global warming. Engaging in shorter courses is likely to increase your breadth of expertise and ultimately allow you to apply for higher-paying construction management roles.

Related: Project management skills and how to improve them

5. Choose the correct course

Be cautious with some online courses, as reputable bodies may not accredit them. The most relevant training body is the CIOB. They're accredited with a royal charter and can grant you a chartership in the field of construction management. Having something this prestigious on your CV is likely to catch the eye of potential employers and highlight your areas of expertise. Investing in the right CPD courses, especially a chartership in an industry like construction, is also likely to increase your earnings.

Related: How to write a project manager CV (plus essential skills)

6. Gain a chartership

A chartership can drastically increase your wage as a construction manager. The CIOB is an example of an institution that offers a chartership course. The requirements to join as a fellow member are:

  • five years experience in a construction management course

  • completion of a level 4 site management course

  • a technical qualification such as an HNC or HND (Higher National Diploma)

As the chartership course requires five years of experience you can only apply after working for some time in the field, having developed your necessary requisite knowledge of the industry. It's the highest form of CPD you can complete as a construction manager and is certainly worth the investment to further your career.

7. Obtain a CSCS card

A Construction Skills Certification Scheme card provides proof that you're qualified to work on construction sites. It shows that you have completed the necessary training and hold the correct qualifications for the role. Having a CSCS card isn't a government requirement, but it's common for most contractors to ask for one before they allow you to be on a site. Holding one of these cards makes the process of gaining employment much easier, so you can start earning money and gaining experience a lot faster. Bear in mind that a CSCS card is more of a certificate rather than a qualification in itself.

8. Attend networking events

Networking is crucial in any career path as it can provide you with valuable opportunities and connections throughout your chosen industry. The CIOB holds a variety of events throughout the year, which can be great opportunities to meet other professionals in your field and search for new job opportunities. Ensuring that you make links at relevant events can help you progress up the career ladder quickly and thus boost your earnings. You may meet a business owner who likes you and the way you work, and they may offer you a similar job at their company for a higher salary.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries‌ ‌may‌ ‌‌vary‌‌ ‌depending‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌hiring‌ ‌organisation‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌candidate's‌ ‌experience,‌ ‌academic‌ background‌ ‌and‌ ‌location.‌

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