Many employees are looking forward to 2022, when sites will fully reopen, companies will resume making equipment rentals, and construction jobs will return. With a new wave of employment openings, now is an excellent moment to explore a career in construction.
As we surge through a post-COVID world, it is worth investigating which countries are vying for explosive growth in the construction industry—and where construction workers are safe, in demand, and receive a fair and respectable wage.
With that in mind, Workwear Guru set out to locate the best places in the world for construction workers to prosper. This study considered three major factors for ranking the best countries for construction workers including:
the average salaries in construction, safety, and cost of living in each country/state.
The future of the worldwide construction industry appears promising, forecast to reach $10.5 trillion by 2023 and employing more than 220 million people or 7% of the total global employment. The primary drivers of this market’s growth are rising home starts and increased infrastructure as a result of increasing urbanization and population expansion.
Work Wear Guru takes a look at which countries are dominating the construction market and provide the best opportunities for construction workers. Looking at factors like the average salary, cost of living, and safety, below we will rank the best countries in the world to live and work as a construction worker:
Switzerland, which is one of the most economically and politically stable countries in the world, tops our list for the best countries for construction workers. Switzerland’s construction sector is expected to increase by 2.5 percent in 2021, supported by government investments in infrastructure, residential and renewable energy projects.
The average cost of living in Switzerland is high — rent alone for a one-bedroom apartment costs around 1,400 CHF (1,600 USD). Luckily, salaries for construction jobs in Switzerland are usually high to match the costs. A person working in construction in Switzerland typically earns around $79,159 per year. With such above-average salaries for construction laborers, coupled with low incident rates ( 13%) on construction sites, Switzerland unquestionably deserves the epithet of being one of the best countries for construction workers in the world.
The UK Construction Industry has been struggling on a number of fronts the past few years, not only with Covid-19 outbreak but also with the Brexit uncertainty, which had a major impact on the industry, leading to staff shortages and materials.
However, what remains clear is that UK has maintained its position as one of the best countries to work as a construction worker with an average industry salary of $57,957 and a relatively low cost of living, way lower than in Switzerland and some other countries in the list. Moreover, UK sits at the top of the list in terms of safety, with an incident rate of only 8%.
While the future of the construction sector in the UK is uncertain at the present, demand for permanent professional personnel is growing as businesses attempt to acquire expertise ahead of a potential skills shortage. To this end, employees considering to land a gig in construction will find UK a great place to lay a hat and embark on a successful career
With a projected growth rate of 3.1% in 2022, construction is one of the fastest-growing industry in the U.S. ABC expects occupations in construction to add a whopping 430,000 new jobs to meet the demand.
The US comfortably earns a high ranking in our list as the industry remains supported by many jobs available and an average salary of $55,800 per year. However, 20% of worker fatalities in the US are in construction, which calls for a continued incentive to improve safety on construction sites and avoid life-threatening conditions due to factors construction workers cannot control.
Canada is heavily urbanized, with major and medium-sized cities housing 82 percent of the population. It scores highly in terms of quality of life, education, economic freedom, government transparency, and civil rights on a global scale. Besides that, Canada boasts a highly developed construction industry, employing over 1.4 million people and generating over $141 billion annually to the economy.
On top of plentiful job opportunities, construction workers in Canada earn an above-average salary ($55,927) and benefit from an affordable cost of living (unquestionably much more affordable than in Switzerland, Singapore and other countries in this list).
Singapore has consistenly ranked as one of the best places to live, with a good work/life balance, exceptional educational options and excellent healthcare. The fact that it also provides a high earning potential in construction ($43,958 per year) is a bonus.
Singapore also has the second-lowest incident rate in our list at 5% trailing only Poland at 4%. The overall number of workplace injuries for 2020 in Singapore decreased by a whopping 18%, from 13,779 in 2019 to 11,350 in 2020, while workplace deaths decreased from 39 in 2019 to 30 in 2020. This equates to a workplace fatality rate of 0.9 per 100,000 employees (2020 National WSH Statistics).
Another country topping our list is China. Its massive building sector is expanding at a breakneck pace and will add $2.1 trillion to global construction production by 2030. Opportunities for construction workers are excellent in China as the country generally pays above-average construction wages ($31, 931), features a modest cost of living (41.31) and has low workplace injuries at only 9%.
Construction employment in Australia currently stands at 1.18 million construction workers with a gross value-added amounting to over 130 million Australian dollars. While salaries for construction workers in Australia are relatively high ($39,191), life in this country certainly comes with a price tag. Australia has the 12th highest cost of living in the world, with USA and UK trailing behind.
Another worrying fact for construction workers looking forward to move to Australia is that construction industry carries a high risk in this country. During an eight-month span, there were 102 incidents reported from 559 companies. This also explains why Australia scored lower in our list for best countries for construction workers.
The construction industry is the backbone of the EU economy and the leading industrial employer in Europe. The sector employs over 18 million peole and accounts for 9% of the total EU’s GDP. It constantly creates new jobs, stimulates economic growth, and provides solutions in all areas of life.
Despite its great sensitivity to larger economic changes, the construction industry in EU usually pays its employees well. However, salary varies substantially upon location and the country construction workers work.
Here’s a brief breakdown of where construction workers make the most among European countries and where they can launch a successful construction career.
Belgium has exceptionally high living, healthcare, and educational standards. It is also one of the world’s safest and most peaceful countries. Its geographical location supports its expanding economy, which is powered by a very diverse economic base of both industrial production and service industries. When it comes to construction, the industry is projected to grow $94.5 billion by 2024.
Construction workers would want to move to Belgium and benefit from the country’s open economy. Despite having a relatively high cost of living, Belgium continues to attract job-seeking construction workers due to competitively high salaries ($53,501) and the high quality of life it offers.
Dutch construction industry has been expanding at a fast pace, contributing around EUR 70 billion and accounting for 4.5% of GDP. The Netherlands is not the most affordable country in Europe. In fact, according to our list, Netherlands is the 8th most expensive country to live in. However, despite the high cost of living, you can live and work in this charming part of western Europe without breaking the bank.
The average salary of a construction worker in the Netherlands is $41,312, which is more than enough to cover other expenses. Moreover, incident rates in the Netherlands are relatively low, making it reasonable for a construction worker to move here and benefit from plentiful job opportunities.
Traditionally, the majority of value-added in Europe originates from France. This is hardly a surprise given the fact that France is also one of the largest construction markets in Europe. Along with the EU’s other two largest countries, Germany and UK, it accounts for half of the overall value-added in the industry.
Furthermore, with salaries higher than many other countries in Europe, construction workers looking for employment in France will benefit from the country’s high standards.
COVID-19 has left Italy as one of the worst-affected countries in the world, exacting a high economic and health toll. However, as the infection rate decreased across the country, the government has moved to reopen significant swathes of the economy. Job opportunities for construction workers in Italy are anticipated to increase significantly much faster than the average for all job opportunities. As of 2018, there were a whopping 787,248 people employed in construction. Employees who want to join the fold will benefit from Italy’s low cost of living (30% cheaper than in the US), low incident rates and relatively high salaries ($30,257).
Germany is the biggest building stock and is Europe’s leading construction market. A variety of factors have contributed to a surge in German building investment, which is anticipated to continue for the foreseeable future.
If construction workers decided to move to Germany, it will undoubtedly be a sound decision as the country offers above-average construction earnings, has a low cost of living ( 6.15% lower than in the United States), and has a dense concentration of construction work.
The construction industry employs over a million people in the United States with a national average of $55,800. The future for this field is positive, with the BLS projecting that employment growth for construction workers will be around 7% from until 2030, which is above average for job growth in the United States.
With a new wave of employment openings, now is an excellent moment to explore a career in construction. Based on a combination of the criteria mentioned above, we narrowed down a list of states in the US to find an ideal job in the field of construction.
There’s a good reason why Illinois tops our list for construction workers. Construction is increasing throughout the state, particularly in Chicago, which has the second-highest number of tower cranes in operation of any city in the United States.
While Illinois has a relatively high percentage of incident rates (2.7%,) it ranks third for construction salaries (trailing only New York and California) at $65,100 per year. This above average salary coupled with low cost of living makes Illinois the number one state for construction workers in the US.
Texas is another US state worthy of mention as one of the places with great opportunities for construction workers. The state’s expanding population and a pandemic-driven boom in housing sales has construction workers in high demand. This booming construction sector implies more work for Texas-based businesses.
As for salaries, Texas construction workers enjoy relatively higher wages than most of the sates, ranking 11th in our list. This is excellent news for construction workers who want to move to Texas, especially when considering the state’s low cost of living
Despite the fact that New York is still dealing with the aftermath of the epidemic, the state’s construction industry is thriving. It has the highest construction industry employment rates in the whole country. But what truly stands about New York is the above average salaries : $66,900 on average—the highest paying state for construction workers in our list, leaving behind California and Illinois at $65,700 and $65,100, respectively.
Few construction lists would be complete without Louisiana. A robust comeback from the early months of the pandemic has resulted in high demand for employees, and Louisiana construction is flourishing. Second, construction workers in Louisiana earn an average salary of $59,500 while benefiting from a low cost of living 12% below the national average.
Construction activity in Massachusetts has been slow in the first half of 2021. However, there are indicators that things are beginning to improve, with overall building starts, including residential, increasing by 2%.
This increase means that there is also a rise in demand for construction workers. While Massachusetts does not rank among the top 10 states for construction workers in our list, it surely boasts a business-friendly environment and high average salaries of $62,100 certainly help.
This study considered three major factors for determining the best countries for construction workers:
Our study took into account the cost of living for each country in the world, using Numbeo’s and worldpopulation’s Cost of Living index. This index adjusts states and cities for transportation, grocery costs, and other utilities that impact the quality of life for a construction worker in a specific country. Countries with higher living costs scored lower in the study.
Higher salaries are a good indicator of a competitive and skilled labor market. Using data from Salaryexplorer, we compared the average salaries for construction workers and adjusted them based on the cost-of-living index for each country.
The importance of safety in construction sites cannot be understated. Considering that construction is perpetually among the most dangerous industries, with 250 incidents per 10,000 FTE, the benefits of having a safe construction site go far beyond the obvious. Using data from Lloyd’s Register Foundation, the safety for world and EU countries was measured by percentage of people who answered YES to whether they’ve been seriously injured while working.
On the other hand, safety for US states was measured using BLS data which presents the number and frequency of work-related injuries and illnesses recorded by employers under OSHA.
Note: Salary, cost of living and safety were equally weighted when ranking countries/states.
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