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I want to work in construction. What will my salary be?

There's high demand in this sector that offers a variety of roles and can pay a lot more than you think

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This story is part of the Globe Careers’ series looking at specific jobs, with their qualifications, descriptions, responsibilities and current salaries. For more, see our Salaries Series.

The job:
Construction

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Salary:
Starts at about $45,000 a year to more than $200,000, depending on the job, the demand for the role, and the location. (For example, construction workers are paid more in places such as Alberta where demand is high.)

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Education:
The minimum general labourers require is a high-school diploma, while professionals such as engineers need specialized education, such as a post-secondary degree, in their field. Some labourers, including tool-and-die makers, also receive training in their area of expertise.

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By the numbers:
The Construction Sector Council says the industry will need to recruit roughly 246,000 new construction workers to meet expansion and replacement demand between 2013 and 2021, due in part to the aging work force.

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The shortages are largely in the industrial and engineering construction markets, particularly in the resources industry.
“Even if the industry succeeds in sustaining or increasing their share of the new entrants, there is still a need to reach outside the local industry and attract 100,000 workers to meet these needs,” the council says in a report.

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The job:
There are a number of jobs on a construction site, from swinging a hammer to operating a backhoe or working at a desk examining a set of blueprints. Each requires a different set of skills.
“There is a job for everybody in the industry,” said Jessica Steffler, director of career promotions at the Ontario Civil Construction Careers Institute.

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Challenges:
The job can be physically demanding. It also requires working outside in a variety of climates, but that can be a benefit on warm, sunny days.

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Why they do it:
The money is good, particularly for jobs where there is a shortage of people with the right skills, such as crane operators or engineers.
Many people also enjoy the satisfaction of seeing the results of their work every day. There are also dozens of careers to choose from within the sector, and a variety of continuing projects.

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Misconceptions:
People see construction as a dirty job, where people are uneducated and not paid well, which isn’t true, says Ms. Steffler. “People don’t realize how much money you can make.”

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Another misconception is that those who work in construction are uneducated people who couldn’t get a job elsewhere. “It’s the perception of society,” Ms. Steffler says. “It’s not the students, it’s the parents.”

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Give us the real scoop:

Are you a construction worker in Canada?

Write a note in the comments area and tell us what you would tell others who are interested in the profession, or e-mail your comment to careerquestion@globeandmail.com

Want to read more stories from our salaries series? Click here.

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