How to become a Construction Manager in the UK

Date: 24 Aug 2023

Discover what it takes to become a construction manager in the UK today.

The UK construction industry employs over 3.1 million professionals, with the sector expected to grow by a further 3.4% in 2022. The Shard and the Gherkin, two of London’s most recognisable structures, opened within 9 years of each other, are just two examples of the incredible talent that can be found within the industry.

Before we dive into the skills needed to become a construction manager, let’s look at what the role entails.

What does a construction manager do?

If you’ve ever been on a construction site, you’ll know how important it is to keep everything under control. There’s no room for error or potential hazards. As a construction manager, your main responsibility will be ensuring workplace safety at all times. That’s not all, though. You’ll also handle project practicalities and planning, overseeing the development of industrial, commercial and residential properties.

To do this successfully, you’ll need vital skills in the art of construction management.

Check out this helpful video from UCEM, detailing a typical day in the life of a Construction Manager in the UK:

Key skills needed by construction managers

If you’re on the look-out for construction management jobs, make sure you have the correct tools before filling out any applications.

Most of the skills needed are transferable and can be gained through first-hand construction experience. We’ve got you covered with a list of everything you need to know when applying for construction management jobs.

Key skills include:

Industry knowledge: This is the most important skill of all and will help you prepare for the role in the best way possible. Having on-site experience is always a huge benefit for any candidate, as you’re likely to already know your way around a construction site and understand the inner workings of the industry.

Strong communication: You’ll be managing teams and regularly talking to clients, so it’s vital that you can communicate both clearly and effectively.

Flexibility: You need to be flexible, not just in terms of working hours, but to adjust to unforeseen circumstances appropriately and with due care.

Negotiation and delegation: Your role will include interacting with external contractors and running a large team, so it’s important that you can both negotiate effectively and delegate tasks, where needed.

Organisation: The success of a project will ultimately fall on your shoulders. It’s crucial to be organised and be aware of every aspect of development, at all times.

Technical background: Different construction companies use independent computer software, therefore, it’s important to have a strong understanding of IT. As your career progresses, it’s likely that your technical skills will also develop, too.

You might’ve noticed that most of these skills aren’t particularly industry-specific. However, industry knowledge is likely to prove the deciding factor for any successful applicant and make your transition into construction management significantly easier, too.

Construction manager benefits

Every role has its perks, and construction management jobs are no different. As with any position, preparation is key. To help you get started, we’ve listed a sample of the rewards involved when working in construction management.

Benefits of construction management jobs include:

Job security: Construction is a stable industry, with every project requiring managerial supervision. As long as there’s construction, your position is likely to be valued and secure.

Competitive salary: Construction, on average, is a highly paid sector. The industry respects its workforce and pays well. See our section below on what to expect in terms of salary.

Career progression: Whether a quantity surveyor wanting to further advance, or simply looking at roles higher up the ladder, the industry offers many opportunities for potential development and personal growth..

Work flexibility: although the hours are long, you’ll be in control of work schedules allowing you to choose when you work and the hours you do.

Diverse projects: No two construction projects are ever the same. One day you might be developing a new city library—the next, a bridge. The projects you’re likely to be involved with will improve local communities and increase the quality of life for those living in the area.

It’s important to note that construction management jobs can be challenging, with a typical working week lasting, on average, 40 to 45 hours. Additionally, construction work can also be hazardous, with construction managers expected to limit and assess all risks before they occur. Of course, all jobs can occasionally prove difficult, and we’re confident that the benefits on offer far exceed the demands of the role.

Now that you’re fully prepared, let’s discuss salary expectations.

Will I be well paid?

Yes—construction managers in the UK earn an average salary of £45,226. Depending on experience, however, salaries can range from anything in between £30k and £67k. As your career progresses, your earnings will naturally increase to reflect your experience and value to the industry.

Ready to start applying for construction management jobs? To find the most promising and suitable positions, there’s only one place to look.

Apply for construction management jobs with SSA

At SSA, we connect our candidates with top construction companies across the UK. We pride ourselves on matching applicants with their dream roles, for the long term. To check out our open construction management vacancies, click here.
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