3 steps to better pay and benefits in construction work
It's no secret that in order to get ahead in your career, you need to be good at what you do. But what if you're not sure what it is that you're good at? Or worse, what if you can’t see any progression in your work? Don't worry, because there are plenty of things you can do to improve your skills and make yourself more marketable - which will set you on the road to better pay and benefits. The following three proven steps will always give you an edge over the competition: skill, experience and a track record.
- Skills: Improve them and know what they are
- Experience: what counts as experience and how to make the most of it
- Track record: what it is and why it’s important
What does ‘skill’ mean in construction?
When it comes to skill in construction, there are multiple levels and types of meaning. First and foremost, you need skills to be able to physically do the job - this means having the strength and stamina to carry out manual labor tasks every day. Many construction jobs require precision work, which is the result of training, experience, and skill in order to produce good quality outcomes.
In addition to being physically capable, you also need to be technically skilled. This involves knowing how to use a variety of tools and how to read and interpret blueprints. It's also important to have basic math skills so that you can calculate measurements correctly. These skills are built up over time and through a variety of projects if you’re looking to build up a general skill base, or by being specific about the projects you choose if you want to master every skill in a specific area.
Looking to improve your skills in construction but unsure how to start? One of the best things you can do is be vocal about what you can do, and ask for help or advice with skills where you have less experience. As a result, your co-workers will share knowledge with you and also know to come to you with problems that relate to your specific skill areas.
When colleagues are reaching out to you for help, this will be recognised by supervisors who will see you as possessing a higher level of skill. Due to this, it’s likely that subcontractors or general contractors will approach you with more skill-based offers, which often have better pay and benefits as they require a level of skill speciality that not everyone possesses.
What counts as experience in construction?
Experience is one of the most important elements of improving your construction opportunities. It can’t be learnt in a classroom or from a book, but can only come from working in the field, experiencing different projects, and learning by doing.
There are many elements of construction jobs that can only be learnt through experiencing the job for yourself and working across different projects. Not only does this help you learn construction and craft skills, but also how to be on a construction site and work safely there, from respecting different health and safety guidelines to learning to use different tools. Experience is also vital for building up teamwork skills and ensuring you can work effectively with a number of other team members from different backgrounds. As construction is centered around teamwork, it’s important to be able to support others and communicate efficiently.
Most importantly, experience teaches you how to stay calm under pressure. As with any job, there are times when things go wrong and you need to think on your feet in order to complete a project successfully. Experience will help you learn how to make the right decisions in those situations and adapt and improvise plans when needed. Being able to present this experience in a quantified and qualified way will make you stand out with employers and lead you to better job opportunities.
What is a track record and why is it important to have one?
A track record is a list of your accomplishments in your field. It's something that you can use to show potential employers or clients what you're capable of and what you have produced in the past.
It's important to have a track record because it proves that you're good at what you do and that your skills and experience can be trusted. It also shows that you're reliable and can be counted on to get the job done, as well as highlighting projects that show a level of skill, experience, and teamwork. Often, smaller tasks within a project will be designated dependent on past experiences, making it important that your supervisors know what you have worked on before.
If you don't have a track record, it's important to start building one now. This can be done by documenting your work on a project or using digital tools like Molteo for time registration, as this will help build the track record for you. It's also important to be active on social media and showcase your work online, as employers will often search for new workers that way. The Crafthunt app allows you to upload your relevant skills and experience, as well as any projects you would like feedback on, promoting your skills and abilities and showing continual progress.
Having a track record is important because it helps you stand out from the competition, proving that you're a valuable member of the team and that you can be counted on to get the job done. It also gives evidence that you're skilled and experienced in your field, which potential employers can trust.
Construction is a dangerous job in which the skills, experience and track record of an individual can make or break how well they do - and particularly shape the future experience and new job opportunities which they can reach.
When working to reach a position where you can negotiate better pay and benefits, it’s important to be able to prove your value as an employee - shown by your experience and skills and highlighted in your track record.
Skill is learned and improved over time with practice and continued learning, experience is gained by working in the field across a variety of projects and a track record helps you prove these elements, maintain a good relationship with clients, co-workers and superiors - and all these combine to give you opportunities for better pay, benefits, and money in the construction industry.