Construction Trades: A Step on the Path Toward Higher Paying Jobs


A recent NAHB study identifies eight senior positions at home building companies that are often to nearly always filled by someone with experience in one or more of the construction trades.  Average annual compensation (salary and bonus combined) for each of the eight positions is at least $80,000—at least $100,000, if the position is Head/Director or above of one of the company’s major functions.

The data come from the Single-family Compensation Survey conducted by NAHB’s Economics & Housing Policy Group in July of 2017.  The survey collected information from 308 single-family builders about full-time and part-time positions they have at their companies.  When a company has one of the eight key positions full-time, the figure below shows how often it is filled by someone with hands-on experience in the construction trades.

At the top of the figure, 96 percent of builders with a full-time Vice President of Construction say the position is always filled by someone with experience in the construction trades, and 89 percent of builders with the President/CEO position say the position is always filled by someone with experience in the trades. Even at the bottom of the figure, where “only” 58 percent of builders with the position say Head/Director of Sales & Marketing is always filled by someone with experience in the construction trades, another 35 percent say the position is sometimes filled by someone with such experience.

The next figure shows how much these positions earn. For President/CEO of single-family home builders in the survey, the average salary is $113,222 and the average bonus (with $0 bonuses included in the average) is $44,179, for an average annual compensation (of salary and bonus combined) of $157,401.  Compensation is even higher than this for the Head/Director of Land Acquisition: average salary is $124,114, and the average bonus is $49,352, for an average annual compensation of salary and bonus combined of $173,466.

Although the figure shows Directors of Land Acquisition earning more on average than the company’s President or CEO, nearly all of the companies have a President or CEO while the Head/Director of Land Acquisition position exists primarily at larger companies, where salaries tend to be somewhat higher.  For purchasing and production managers, average compensation is roughly $80,000 per year. For the positions in the above chart that are more senior than this (Head/Director or above), average annual compensation is at least $100,000.

Home Builders Institute, NAHB’s workforce development and training arm, has long argued that learning a construction trade can be the first step on a path to higher paying positions in construction businesses.  Data from NAHB’s latest Single-family Compensation Survey provides evidence that such paths do, in fact, exist.  For greater detail, including the definition of each of the eight positions described above and how common these positions are among single-family home building companies, please consult the full study.

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