What are the best paid construction jobs in the UK?

Want to know if construction jobs pay well, and which construction job pays the most? We’ve sourced 7 of the highest paid construction jobs in the UK for you to aim your sights on!

There’s a huge range of construction jobs available in the UK – and we’ve covered the bases on how to get into a construction career for all kinds of roles, from being an electrician to holding responsibility as a site manager. Entry level roles like becoming a construction operative or civil engineering technician don’t need a degree, and can start you off on your journey to the top. Looking to ways to develop your construction career? You can take a practical approach or an academic approach to build your skills and knowledge. Over time you can also become qualified in your field – and that’s often where the big bucks lie.

This guide of best-paid construction jobs won’t cover self-employed trade roles as these can vary so much in pay, with all the challenges and potential rewards that being self-employed can offer. But if you’re looking for employed work, these construction jobs offer great salaries. You never know, one of your first personal projects could be to build a personal vault big enough to stash your cash (we’re just joking. You’ll keep your money in a bank like everyone else.)

1. Building surveyor

Up to £70,000 a year

Starting pay: Around £22,000

As a building surveyor you’ll be working closely with clients to give them advice about the design, construction and maintenance of buildings. To earn the really big money, your clients will probably be large commercial and industrial companies rather than homeowners. You’ll have huge variety in your day to day activities, which could include anything from surveying a construction project to spot faults and suggest improvements, or dealing with planning applications, or even acting as an expert witness in legal proceedings if a problem crops up.

You will need accreditation from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to become a building surveyor at a senior level.


2. Construction contracts manager

Up to £57,000 a year

Starting pay: Around £25,000

You’ll be working with a project from start to finish, seeing it all the way through and making sure it’s completed in time and on budget. You’ll be the first point of contact for all kinds of people associated with the project, including:

  • Clients
  • Local community and residents
  • Site manager
  • Ground workers
  • Contractors
  • Local authorities

This is quite a responsible role. If the project starts to experience ‘project creep’ (which means it’s getting more expensive than planned, or looks like it won’t meet its set targets and finish on time) it could mean you made a mistake somewhere in your calculations!


3. Design manager

Up to £62,000 a year

Starting pay: Around £30,000

The construction industry is evolving all the time as people build increasingly complex projects using new processes and materials. The world of construction has only recently seen design co-ordinators or design managers come to the fore – so you can be a pioneer and earn a pretty penny with this role, too. Your role is very important because you managing everything that goes into producing drawings and blueprints for a construction project structure. You might come from an engineering or architectural background to get into this role. You’ll also be good at using modelling software, so a great entry role for you could be to become a CAD technician. Your technical design flair will be matched by your construction knowhow. Remember, it’s the drawings you’ve overseen and approved that actually get built. And no-one wants a wonky building that’s not build to last. No pressure…

4. Project manager

Up to £70,000 a year or more

Starting pay: Around £22,000

Every type of business needs a project manager. You will be great at organising people and commercial interests, and will most likely have a background in construction so you have insider knowledge of what’s needed for a construction project to run smoothly. It’s your job to manage the staff and organise what needs to happen and when for the project to launch successfuly on time. You’ll set targets for the construction project (like finishing it within a certain date on a set budget). You’ll also need to allocate resources, from equipment to building materials. Finally, you’ll manage the budget and make sure you are not overspending on the project. DID YOU KNOW? Every great manager isn’t just good at managing other people. They have great self-management skills too!


5. Quantity surveyor

Up to £80,000 a year

Starting pay: Around £18,000

Quantity surveying is a very important part of the construction industry. You’ll be keeping an eagle eye on:

  • Checking that the needs of the client are genuinely possible
  • Quantities and costs
  • Time, labour and work contracts
  • Legal matters including risks and disputes

You may not need a degree but you will need accreditation from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to become a quantity surveyor at a senior level.

There are all kinds of surveying jobs associated with construction, and they all pay well.


6. Senior estimator

Up to £60,000 a year

Starting pay: Around £20,000

For any contract that comes in, you’ll be responsible for preparing accuring estimates. The types of contract you could be estimating for on a construction project include:

  • Materials used
  • Labour carried out
  • Equipment used
  • Subcontracts to other companies to provide a service
  • Construction facilities

It sounds very money and numbers-based, but actually you will also need organisation and problem solving skills, along with communication skills so you can get along with all kinds of people and build strong relationships with the people you work for AND the people involved in third party contracts.


7. Site manager

Up to £70,000 a year or more

Starting pay: Around £27,000

Site Manager

When you become a site manager, the money you earn depends on a few things such as:

  • Your skills and experience
  • Your professional construction qualification (are you certified with the the CIOB?)
  • Your employer

As a site manager you’ll have good leadership skills and be able to build a positive attitude among your team of workers.Using your organisation skills, and business sense, you will make sure that a site is fully ready for construciton work to begin. That means you’ll make sure it’s fully in line with health and safety rules and regulations, and you’ll be checking on quality control for materials and work done. You will manage the day to day operation of the site and inform the client how the project is progressing. This may involve reporting on any challenges that are having a slowing effect on the expecting finish date of the project.

Careers in construction… build your future

There are so many construction jobs, and they don’t all involve hard hats. Not all of them need you to have a degree, either – but you’ll need to do some kind of extra training and get a professional qualification to earn a salary higher than the highest building in the world (the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, in case you were wondering). Construction is a rewarding career – push yourself to achieve, learn as much as you can, and the rewards can be high.

Find out more about getting into careers in construction and explore our construction careers advice.

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For further information: Contact us by phone on 01536 680916 or email us at info@youthemployment.org.uk

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