6 Construction Career Myths Debunked

This October, the construction industry is celebrating the eleventh annual Careers in Construction Month (CICM). Led by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and Build Your Future (BYF), CICM aims to shed light on the diverse career paths within the construction sector and inspire the next generation of craft professionals. In that spirit, Talisen Construction is busting six common construction myths as they pertain to careers in this industry. Let’s get started!

Common Misconceptions About Careers in Construction

The construction industry, like any other, is subject to several misconceptions and stereotypes. One of the primary objectives of Careers in Construction Month is to change the misconceptions that all too often deter today’s workforce from exploring construction as a viable industry. A few of these commonly held beliefs and misperceptions include:

Myth #1: Construction is a man’s job.

Contrary to the misconception that construction is exclusively a male-dominated field, women are making significant strides in the industry today. According to recent statistics, women now account for approximately 10.9% of the construction workforce in the United States, and this number is steadily increasing. These pioneering women are taking advantage of the increasing opportunities for women in construction, breaking stereotypes and excelling in various roles in business development, project management, engineering, architecture, carpentry, heavy equipment operation, marketing, and more. 

It’s high time we dispel the myth that construction is a “man’s job” and embrace the diverse talent that women bring to this dynamic sector. At Talisen Construction, we value diversity and inclusion, welcoming individuals of all genders in recognition that diversity leads to innovation and a stronger, more inclusive workforce. Hear from Talisen team members on advice for women interested in construction-related jobs here.

Myth #2: A construction career means manual labor.

There’s no arguing that tradespeople are the lifeblood of construction; their skill and hard work have built the structures in which we work, play, and live. However, the notion that a modern construction career must equate with manual labor is simply untrue. Construction today hosts a wide range of occupations, from roles in business, management, and financial operations to careers in marketing, office, IT, and technology development. 

This can be seen firsthand by taking a look at Talisen’s company structure and the range of job titles whose functions secure our standing as a successful New York general contracting firm. For instance, Talisen’s field superintendents and assistant field supers are on-site project experts who oversee and ensure the smooth operation of each build, while our team of business unit directors, project managers, and assistant project managers focus on speed-to-market, innovative processes and procedures, project delivery, and delighting the client. Our business units receive direct support from our Director of Construction and Director of Pre-Construction & Vendor Management, while our Field Compliance & Safety Manager ensures the health and safety of Talisen’s team on each and every project. 

In addition, Talisen boasts a Director of Communications who focuses on developing, growing, and managing Talisen as a brand and works with an in-house marketing team to create powerful marketing strategies that include fresh and dynamic content often unseen from other industry firms, while our Director of Vendor Management & IT Operations works to implement new and efficient technologies into our team’s everyday workflow. 

As illustrated, the construction industry plays host to a varied collection of occupations in nearly every niche imaginable. You can learn more about the professionals that make up our general contracting firm and what each position’s responsibilities entail here.

Myth #3: There are no educational requirements.

While the traditional route of obtaining a college degree is not always a prerequisite for securing entry-level positions in the construction industry, this sector is far from lacking in educational opportunities. Instead of relying solely on academic degrees, the construction industry places great value on hands-on experience and practical skills. Two of the most prominent pathways for individuals looking to kickstart their careers are apprenticeships and vocational training programs:

  • Apprenticeships are a cornerstone of the construction world. They offer newcomers a structured and comprehensive learning experience, pairing them with seasoned professionals to acquire the essential skills of their chosen trade. These hands-on apprenticeships provide a unique opportunity for individuals to learn the ropes, gain practical knowledge, and earn a wage simultaneously. Throughout their apprenticeships, individuals not only receive guidance but often have access to classroom instruction to supplement their on-site experiences.
  • Vocational training programs, on the other hand, offer a more specialized and focused approach to education within the construction field. These programs are designed to equip students with a particular skill set or technical expertise, tailored to the needs of the industry. They provide intensive, practical training in areas like electrical work, plumbing, carpentry, and heavy machinery operation. Graduates emerge with a solid foundation in their chosen field, ready to tackle the demands of the construction profession.

However, it’s essential to recognize that the construction industry isn’t just about entry-level roles. Beyond the hands-on trades, there are a multitude of roles within construction that require advanced degrees and specialized knowledge. These positions include construction management, architectural design, civil engineering, structural engineering, and environmental consulting, among others. In these roles, individuals are responsible for overseeing projects, ensuring regulatory compliance, and making critical decisions that can impact the success and safety of construction endeavors. Here, a strong educational background, often supported by advanced degrees, is invaluable. These professionals bridge the gap between vision and execution, translating blueprints into reality while navigating complex regulations and guidelines.

Myth #4: There’s no room for creativity.

Contrary to the belief that construction is a rigid and uncreative field, it offers a vibrant canvas for innovation and artistic expression that goes far beyond brick and mortar. Within the construction realm, architects, engineers, and even skilled tradespeople serve as the visionary artists, sculptors, and craftsmen of modern society. Their collaborative efforts culminate in structures that are not only functional but also awe-inspiring works of art.

  • Architects, for instance, are the creative visionaries who breathe life into buildings and spaces. They conceptualize and design structures that harmonize with their surroundings, considering both form and function. Architects blend aesthetics with functionality, ensuring that every space within a building is not only efficient but also aesthetically pleasing. Their designs often become iconic landmarks, shaping the skyline of cities and defining the visual identity of neighborhoods.
  • Engineers, too, are artistic in their own right. Structural engineers, for example, apply their expertise to craft the support systems that enable buildings to soar to great heights, defy gravity, and withstand the forces of nature. They meticulously design the intricate frameworks and innovative materials that make architectural dreams a reality. Their work marries the elegance of design with the precision of mathematics and physics.
  • Even skilled tradespeople contribute their artistic touch to construction projects. Carpenters, for instance, turn raw materials into intricate woodwork, adding warmth and character to interiors. Stonemasons sculpt exquisite facades that showcase the beauty of natural stone, while electricians work with subtle lighting designs that transform spaces into inviting, atmospheric havens.

Furthermore, the construction industry is undergoing a profound shift towards sustainability and eco-friendliness. Sustainable construction practices, eco-friendly designs, and the integration of advanced materials and technologies are revolutionizing the field. Architects and builders are now champions of green building design, where environmental consciousness meets artistic innovation. They incorporate renewable energy systems, energy-efficient materials, and sustainable landscaping to create buildings that are not just functional but also environmentally responsible.

Myth #5: Construction is unsafe.

Safety is a top priority in the construction industry, and it has come a long way in ensuring the well-being of workers. While construction sites can be physically demanding, modern practices, strict safety regulations, and advancements in safety training, equipment, and protocols have bolstered construction site safety in recent years. Moreover, modern technology and artificial intelligence (AI) features like wearable tech, drone surveillance, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) training, autonomous machinery, and data-driven technologies play a crucial role in improving construction safety as a whole. 

Read more about artificial intelligence and construction here.

Myth #6: There’s little opportunity for growth.  

The construction industry is far from stagnant. It’s a sector that embraces growth and development, offering a wide range of career paths for those willing to invest in their skills and education. In fact, statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predict a 7% increase in construction employment from 2020 to 2030, adding nearly 300,000 new jobs. This growth encompasses various roles, from construction managers and estimators to specialists in technology, sustainability, and project management. Additionally, the construction industry often provides on-the-job training, apprenticeships, and educational opportunities, making it highly accessible for individuals seeking long-term career growth.

Here’s to Building a Brighter Future, Together

From debunking the notion that construction is exclusively for men to highlighting the diverse educational pathways and career options available, it’s clear that the construction sector is evolving and expanding. Women are thriving in various roles, innovation and sustainability are reshaping the creative landscape of construction, and safety measures are being fortified through technological advancements, ensuring a safer work environment. Moreover, the industry is witnessing steady growth, offering a wide spectrum of career paths for those eager to invest in their skills and education.

Talisen Construction is committed to not only celebrating these truths but also actively contributing to the industry’s growth, diversity, and innovation. We embrace the talents of individuals from all backgrounds and walks of life, recognizing that it’s this very diversity that fuels innovation and excellence in construction. As we navigate the construction landscape, we invite you to join us in busting these myths and exploring the exciting world of construction, where endless opportunities await those with passion, creativity, and a commitment to safety and progress. Share this blog post with a friend and let’s build a brighter future together!