October 16, 2020 / By Josh Welsh, Senior Corporate Recruiter

October is Careers in Construction Month

Searching for a career that will take you places? Then look no further than the construction industry. October is designated as Careers in Construction month by the National Center for Construction Education & Research and Build Your Future. But at Miller-Valentine Construction, we see year-round opportunities for students and other job seekers who desire a rewarding career that pays well.

Josh Welsh, our senior corporate recruiter, recently answered questions about why construction is a solid career choice and why now is a good time to join the industry.

What is the current state of the construction industry?
At Miller-Valentine, we see much reason for optimism. The industry experienced a slight slowdown as it adjusted to COVID-19 precautions, but we are definitely seeing a rebound. According to the Bureau of Labor Standards’ September 2020 Current Employment Statistics Highlights report, construction employment increased by 26,000 jobs in September, with the growth primarily driven by residential specialty trade contractors (up 16,000 jobs) and construction of buildings (up 12,000 jobs).

The logistics sector is still fueling growth, and manufacturing and housing construction are also picking up speed. Construction is poised to make a strong comeback and, when it does, there will be a pressing need for skilled and professional talent.

Why consider a career in construction?
There are so many reasons! The construction industry is foundational to our economy. As an essential business, there is always a demand for housing, commercial and specialized facilities, and roads, and other infrastructure.

Construction is also a dynamic industry, with many opportunities for mobility – both in terms of career growth and travel. Career paths range from field staff to office and from entry-level to management. Construction jobs pay well, and many entry-level positions do not require a four-year degree. And for job seekers who are looking for a purpose, construction is one of the best industries to be in. We build dreams, change lives, and transform the communities where we live and work.

Is now a good time to pursue a career in the industry?
Yes. Before the pandemic, the industry was grappling with a shortage of skilled field and office talent. That gap has only gotten larger. According to Build Your Future, more than 1 million craft professionals will be needed by 2023. Not only is there a need for entry-level talent, but there are also openings up and down the career ladder that need to be filled. People who are willing to travel and to go above and beyond will see fast growth in their careers.

How can candidates distinguish themselves?
Do your homework about the industry and the companies you are interested in. Before the pandemic hit, candidates could use career fairs to learn about companies and opportunities. But now they need to come prepared with questions before they attend a virtual session. Candidates who use this time to take online training or to start working toward certifications will also stand apart from the crowd. Many organizations are offering courses for free or at a reduced cost.

What should candidates be doing right now?
If you’re a student, get connected with your career services department to learn more about the industry and to find internships and co-ops. If you are seeking a career change, then contact relevant trade associations and networking groups – such as your local Associated Builders and Contractors chapter – to start building relationships. And don’t overlook people you know in the industry! They can be a great source of information and insights.

What’s the best way to find a recruiter?
LinkedIn is a great way to connect with recruiters, as are virtual career fairs and networking events. Now is the time to start reaching out. Many construction companies are running lean at the moment. But when a project hits, they will need to staff up quickly. Candidates who have already connected with a recruiter will be among the first to get a call.

Want to learn more about future opportunities with Miller-Valentine? Reach out to Josh Welsh at 513.774.8400 today.