Do you know of anyone who has considered a career in the construction industry, but were disheartened by what some people see as a dead-end career? If they’ve heard there’s no future in construction, then he/she would have heard one of the many common myths about the industry.
The construction industry has been the subject of jokes, myths and rumors for decades and, while some jokes may be funny, the misconceptions have actually harmed the industry.
Getting the wrong idea about the construction industry has seen a lot of talented, creative people to work in other sectors, leaving construction short of good workers at times.
These myths need to be addressed and debunked in order to keep the industry growing strong.
In this blog, we will discuss some of the most common construction industry myths and then debunk them so talented candidates don’t miss out on some great opportunities.
Construction work is only for last resort
A major construction industry myth is that construction work is only for those who are unemployable or who need a job as a last resort. This myth can’t be further from the truth.
This myth is tied closely to the assumption that many construction workers are all brawn and no brain – an extremely harmful and insulting misconception.
The majority of workers in the construction industry are there because they chose it as a career and want to be there. They work construction because of the higher wages paid in the industry, paid holidays, overtime pay and, most importantly, the construction industry offers people the chance to express their creativity and create structures that will stand long after they are gone. It can also prove an excellent career choice for those who prefer being physically active to sitting in an office day in and day out.
Last, but not least, a career in construction offers the opportunity to work on all kinds of structures, most anywhere in the world.
Most construction workers are poorly educated
For generations, a university degree and a white-collar job was the gold standard, with many frowning upon jobs in the construction industry. The idea that construction workers are poorly educated is a hurtful stereotype, and certainly not true.
Fact is, construction workers are well-educated on the job, with many attending technical school in order to advance. Moreover, they’ll have to continually learn on the job in order to stay in the industry.
While construction workers may not use skills related to pure academic learning, it demands important skills that can only be acquired through education and experience. The fundamentals of construction work include how to handle a wide range of tools and equipment, math, how to read blueprints and other industrial documents and specific trades like welding and carpentry. It’s also crucial for construction workers to become skilled in safety practices, both for their own sake and for the sake of their co-workers.
After all, the trades are called the skilled trades for a reason: each trade, including construction, requires extensive and specific knowledge and training. Apprenticeships aren’t a piece of cake; they entail study, focus and hard work to succeed and earn journeyman tickets. Not to mention that many construction workers boast advanced education.
There’s no room for advancement or promotion in construction
Another popular myth is that a job in construction is a dead-end. The only job prospect is to work with your hands building walls for various reasons. There’s simply no way to get ahead or to achieve anything. This is certainly not the case with many workers gaining inside knowledge of all aspects of construction allowing them to work their way into management roles, even becoming owners of their own businesses.
True, may construction workers find their ideal level and are happy to stay there. The important word here is that they are happy!
Anyone who wants to get ahead or get a promotion will find it easy compared to other industries. Many construction firms place a huge importance on education and training. Advancement opportunities include training for managerial positions, or striking out alone, armed with the skills and know-how acquired over the years.
The construction industry is for men only
Wrong! Since 1985, the number of women in the construction industry has grown by a whopping 82%.
The view that construction is a man’s industry is outdated and can seriously hurt the field by putting women off the idea of a career in construction. Today’s construction industry sees a more reasonable balance between men and women and construction is actually one of the few industries leading the way to bridging the pay gap between the genders.
Perhaps the key to making the construction trade more welcoming to women is eliminating barriers. Again, construction companies are among the leaders in creating policies and procedures that support women and help to change the antiquated mindsets about their role in construction.
Construction work does not pay well
Construction is a multi-billion-dollar industry and many current jobs boast high salaries. Project managers and consultants are among the many positions that pay very well.
If you’ve heard the myth that there’s no money in construction, then you’ve probably been talking to the wrong people.
Being a construction worker is a risky job
Some people hesitate to enter a career in construction because they have concerns about the safety of the work. Sure, it can be if you don’t follow the safety regulations. But today, there are strict safety standards construction companies must adhere to, as well as provide adequate training for workers.
As an example, organizations such as the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) have imposed compliance standards and promoted detailed checklists to help assure a safer environment for workers, as well as greater efficiency and production for employers.
As a result, the number of injuries or accidents in construction have been constantly decreasing.
Speaking of safety, there are also a number of myths pertaining to job safety among construction workers.
Accidents in the construction industry just happen. That’s why they’re called accidents
That’s like saying it’s okay to run with scissors because if you’re going to trip and stab yourself, it’s going to happen no matter what you do. Nearly all construction accidents that occur on the jobsite are preventable with the proper planning, appropriate training and putting site specific systems in place.
There’s always a reason or sequence of actions that lead to each accident. It’s difficult to anticipate every situation, but with the correct measures in place, it’s possible to lessen risks by doing away with or mitigating most threats.
Investigations after an accident will uncover what was the cause. Not surprisingly, you’ll find the accident didn’t simply take place, but was the result of not having the appropriate systems in place or not abiding by the rules that led to it happening.
Safety is solely the safety manager’s responsibility
Safety is the responsibility of everyone on the and off the jobsite. Every worker is accountable for following the rules, wearing personal protective equipment and performing his or her jobs in a safe manner. Workers must be urged to notify management of safety hazards and be authorized to stop work if they observe unsafe work habits or if a safety threat is present and needs to be tackled.
Don’t get us wrong. The safety manager’s role is crucial. In general, they oversee safety training, promoting safety programs and measures and working with project managers and site superintendents to execute site-specific safety procedures.
Let’s face it. Safety managers can’t be in all places at all time checking workers and construction activity. Workers must be responsible to look out for themselves as well as those around them. Everyone on the jobsite is accountable for adhering to the rules and practicing safe working habits.
The construction industry is not tech savvy enough
Here’s the myth: the construction industry is still catching up with the rest of the world. Construction professionals are content with using tools that have been popular for years. Entire construction teams would rather remain old-fashioned and are not nearly tech savvy enough to use today’s mobile applications or software.
Truth is, smartphones and tablets have been around for some time and mobile applications have immensely improved in how they function. If a mobile application has been well developed, discovering how to use it ought to take little or no time and every person doesn’t have to be a tech whiz to fully appreciate it. Moreover, if the construction team already use smartphones, they should be able to grasp mobile apps with ease.
Moreover, a large percentage of construction workers these days are from Gen X (also known as millennials) and they are quite adept at technology. So, they should be eager to tutor those who do grapple with mobile technology.
Not only is the construction industry old fashioned, it’s bad for the environment
Construction has the tendency to invoke images of workers slinging hammers, assembling parts from paper drawings and producing enormous amount of waste. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The industry is constantly fashioning and employing new technologies to produce advanced, more environmentally friendly structures while, at the same time, overcoming its apparent shortcomings.
Truth is, the construction industry makes a sizable contribution to sustainability with, first and foremost, green buildings and environmentally-friendly designs that are continuing to grow in their popularity.
In fact, construction includes all facets of environmentally-friendly building design, including ecology, energy use, pollution and waste management. So, you see, construction workers can have a far-reaching effect on the green qualifications of a building, helping to make the community more sustainable for future generations.
Add to this the fact that demands for structures to be built to standards like LEED push builders to employ green technology into their construction.
While on the subject, there are also a few myths concerning “green” construction.
Green Building is more expensive
This popular misconception about green building reveals how many construction budgets are estimated using little foresight and stressing short-term gains. Though eco-friendly building projects may appear pricey up front, they by and large slash costs over the years, owing to lower energy costs, reduced waste of materials and more cost-effective labor.
Green materials are just for one type of building
Green building methods and materials can be applied in projects in homes, office buildings, schools, factories, hospitals, most any manner of structure where people work, play or live.
Plus, current buildings can be retrofitted with energy-saving materials and buildings under construction can benefit from solar energy, landscape and other natural characteristics of the area.
Overall, the construction industry continues to grow and evolve, from focusing on hiring women, to affording career opportunities and advancement, to utilizing technologies that enhance efficiency and are environmentally friendly, along with improving jobsite safety are providing evidence that the common myths about the industry are patently false.
If you’d like to discuss how PDDM Solutions can help you on your next project, simply call us at (724) 788-4048 or visit us at www.pddmsolutions.com