Construction Industry Salaries and Wages, Ranked - Sachse Construction
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Construction Industry Salaries and Wages, Ranked

A new analysis of last year’s federal labor statistics breaks down construction’s top earners by job category.

CEOs take the top spot, unsurprisingly. The review of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by the National Association of Home Builders of all categories of construction firms, including residential and commercial, found that other top-paying jobs include construction lawyers, sales managers and those who work in marketing and information systems.

Below is the breakdown for the highest-paid office employees by occupation:


Median Income  

Top 25%   

Chief Executive  $166,710  $200,000+
Lawyer  $142,080  $196,770
Architectural/engineering manager  $127,770  $159,640
Computer/information systems manager  $124,830  $159,170
Training and development manager  $124,300  $166,070
Sales manager  $114,840  $153,630
Financial manager  $111,170  $150,080
Marketing manager  $110,440  $155,570
Advertising manager  $106,890  $149,450
Purchasing manager  $105,790  $136,640
General and operations manager  $101,380  $152,660
Public relations manager  $98,870  $134,570
Compensation and benefits manager  $97,750  $147,400
Software developer  $97,570  $121,940

Among construction trades, elevator installers top the median wages list, with half earning over $78,990 a year, and the top 25% making at least $100,720. The median wages for rotary drill operators is close to $70,000, followed by first-line supervisors of construction trades, who have a median income of $64,600.

Below is the breakdown for the highest-paid field employees by occupation.


Median Income  

Top 25% 

Elevator installer/repairer $78,990 $100,720
Rotary drill operators $68,050 $77,610
First-line supervisor $64,600 $83,300
Boilermaker $64,480 $78,250
Construction and building inspector $60,240 $80,580
Pile-driver operator $58,960 $85,790
Taper $55,110 $71,680
Structural iron and steel worker $54,730 $75,190
Electrician $53,550 $71,860
Plumber/pipefitter/steamfitter $53,540 $71,300
Brick/stone mason $50,860 $64,030
Equipment engineer $50,360 $69,510
Sheet metal worker $49,350 $69,050
Reinforcing iron and rebar worker $49,050 $69,110
Insulation/mechanical worker $47,150 $64,890
Carpenter $46,810 $61,810

The NAHB analysis shows that median hourly wages in construction have been rising, ranging from a year-over-year increase of 6.7% for roofers’ helpers to a 3.6% increase for construction laborers. Median wages of plasterers, stucco masons, floor layers, and tapers increased about 7%. Stonemasons saw their wages rise by over 6%. Their helpers and terrazzo workers got wage increases over 5%.

Even the lowest-paid field workers in the analysis — carpenters — made more than the national median of $38,640, writes NAHB assistant vice president Natalia Siniavskaia.

Last month, BLS reported that construction wages are at their highest level in the last decade. Average hourly earnings are at $30.81, a year-over-year increase of 66 cents and $5.93 more than reported in September 2009.

Average weekly earnings were at $1,226.24 as of September 2019 versus $1,178.87 in September 2018 and $933 in September 2009. Non-supervisory construction workers, however, averaged only $28.58 per hour as of September 2019, with average weekly earnings of $1,148.92.

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