Editorial: 08.31.2023

The Most In-demand Construction Jobs Right Now

The construction industry’s labor shortage reached a record high in 2022, with an average of 390,000 job openings per month. The gap between the current labor force and capacity is wide – and growing. With jobsites short of trained workers in every position, there are a few in-demand construction jobs that take top priority for any recruiter.

The State of the Construction Industry’s Labor Force

Contemporary labor numbers result from a decreased interest in the field and increased competition for recruits in other industries, including transportation and manufacturing. The construction industry’s 4.6% unemployment rate in 2022 was the second lowest on record, with the top mark of 4.5% coming in the pre-COVID-19 year of 2019.

Rising interest rates haven’t had a notable impact on construction starts or slowed down hiring. Instead, public and private investment in complex projects like microchip manufacturing and renewable energy infrastructure is expected to heighten the need for trained and experienced construction workers. That comes at a tough time for an aging industry, wherein nearly 25% of construction workers are over the age of 55.

High-demand jobs in architecture and construction play a crucial role in delivering quality, efficient and lasting civil and commercial infrastructure.

Related: 6 Factors in Sustaining a Strong Safety Culture

The Top 3 Careers in Building and Construction

Every construction manager and recruiter likely has a long list of positions to fill, but these roles are likely at the top of every list nationwide.

1. Millwright/Industrial Mechanic

Millwrights install, maintain and repair machinery on-site. Building companies rely on millwrights to support the rest of the workforce and keep projects on schedule. The role demands plenty of ongoing training to keep up with changing technologies.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated a national workforce of 39,240 in 2021, the most recent data available. Nearly 10,000 millwrights are employed by building equipment contractors, with another 5,930 working in non-residential building.

2. Pipelayer

Pipelayers install and maintain infrastructure related to sewers, drains and water mains. Working closely with grading and excavation experts, pipelayers work in challenging conditions and often need to make on-the-job adjustments to initial plans.

There were approximately 33,330 professional pipelayers in 2021 with more than half working with utility systems or local governments and municipalities.

3. Excavation Equipment Operator

Heavy equipment and excavation equipment operators keep projects moving. Training and safety are critical elements of the equipment operator role and take high priority for recruiters. The BLS estimates there were 466,900 workers employed as excavation, heavy or construction equipment operators, with an estimated 22,000 shortfall to meet industry needs.

Long-term Trends for Construction Management Careers

Careers in construction management have one of the brightest outlooks in the industry. Job growth is forecasted at 8%, faster than the total labor force average. Despite a 2021 national median pay of $98,890, the industry was short 36,400 professional construction managers.

The wide range of roles for workers with construction management degrees to suit specific personalities and skillsets, such as:

  • Field engineer
  • Construction superintendent
  • Sustainability consultant
  • Project manager

The Right Role, The Right Fit

These in-demand careers require training, experience and ongoing professional development. Organizations like Associated Builders and Contractors have invested in education and training, including $1.6 billion to support more than 1.3 million current and prospective construction workers.

Build Your Career with Castle Contracting

We’re committed to building strong and supported craft workforces at each of our locations. Prioritizing safety, ongoing training and excellent benefits, we put our professionals first. Build your career from the ground up with Castle and explore open positions today. 


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