June 1, 2021 - The Construction Industry – a Land of Many Career Opportunities?

The Construction Industry – a Land of Many Career Opportunities?

As I stated in an earlier article, The AACE Toronto section invited me to be a panelist at their March 18, 2021 event “Women in Project Controls – Reflection on Career Development”. Another question put forward to me was whether the construction industry provides opportunities for women at various stages of their careers. This question especially refers to the high number of women leaving the industry because of perceived lack of opportunities for promotions, of difficulties in adapting working hours to someone’s changed circumstances, of the low gender diversity…

In my opinion, whether the construction industry can provide multiple professional opportunities is actually an issue that concerns everyone working in this industry, as anyone of us may, for various reasons, want or need to change their professional circumstances.

In this article, I explain why I think the construction industry offers a wide range of opportunities for multiples experiences and for adapting to personal changed circumstances – although these may not be easy to identify nor access.

More than Engineering and Construction Sites

When talking about the construction industry, most people think of engineering and construction sites.

But this industry calls for a much wider range of knowledge than engineering specialties such as structural; material; mechanical and electrical; civil; and many more. At site level, this industry also requires professional in project management; finances; scheduling; health, safety and environment; document control; change, claims and contract management; IT; etc. Then there is also a multitude of other professionals involved through the contractor’s head office; the sub-contractors, suppliers and consultants; the local authorities; the financial organizations; and many other third parties.

In addition, a construction project often starts many years before there is even a construction site identified - for example, large infrastructure projects are discussed to some details before the exact location is finalized. This pre-construction phase also requires a large range of professionals involved with environmental and social impact analysis; communication and negotiation with third parties related to or affected by the project; financing; planning; design; legal compliance; etc.

And the life of a construction project continues for many more years after the construction works are completed and the project is handed over to the end client. This phase requires professionals to maintain; repair; comply with new or more stringent legal requirements; adapt to changes in the utilization of the project; until the demolition phase.

Furthermore, the expertise required also varies depending on the type of projects. Different professionals are required to work on housing complex compared to the professionals required to build a bridge, or a wind farm, or a hospital…

I think the list of professions that can be linked, one way or another, to the construction industry is endless… It is up to us to discover the one(s) we would like to explore.

Multiple Opportunities

So, overall, I believe that the construction industry provides multiple opportunities to work:

  • In different environments: on site, in some offices, going from site to site;
  • At different stages of a construction project: planning, design, construction, maintenance, demolition;
  • On different types of projects: housing, offices, factories, infrastructure, energy production and transportation, medical facilities, etc.;
  • On projects of different size: from the single family house to the high rise, from the local highway to the one of a kind bridge;
  • In different locations: from congested large cities to very isolated sites, from one’s neighborhood to the other side of the world; and
  • In different areas of expertise that are sometimes specific to a type of projects (specialized engineering), but more often than not, are required for most project (management, finance, legal).

I also believe that the multiple opportunities listed above allow us to build expertise on top of each other to:

  • Reach more senior positions;
  • Access a different area of the industry; and
  • Adjust to changes in our personal circumstances.

But Is It Easy?

Like most things in life, making changes in our careers may be more or less difficult depending on our actual circumstances, how much we want to change, who we know, our availability to go through some training or to relocate, how we’re perceived by others (especially senior managers), etc.

But no changes will occur if we don’t start by:

  • Thinking or realizing that we either want or need something to change in our career;
  • Looking for opportunities around us;
  • Identifying potential new paths that could be of interest to us, or be more suitable to our circumstances;
  • Identify the steps we need to take to be able to make the change, as well as who could support us along the way; and
  • Being in the right mindset to visualize ourselves in a different professional environment!

Many articles have been written about the items listed above, and I’m leaving it to you to further investigate if you’re serious about making changes in your career. But know that the construction industry does provide for a wide range of careers, in very different environments… even if some changes are much more difficult than others to achieve!

My Own Experience

For those of you looking for some inspiration for seeing opportunities or identifying potential new paths, here is a list of the main opportunities that allowed me to make changes in my career and to shape my own professional path:

  • Having the opportunity to continue my studies in the UK, leading to me becoming bilingual and discovering project management;
  • Discovering scheduling in my first job, which was a factor in me being offered a position in Gibraltar;
  • Being involved in a small delay analysis while working at a small project management consultancy, making me looking for opportunities in that specialized field;
  • Speaking with a colleague undertaking a MSc in Construction Law & Dispute Resolution, which allowed me to then work as a contract manager;
  • Accepting to move to Germany to take on a contract manager’s role, which then opened the door to me immigrating to Canada;
  • And I hope there will be more!


In my opinion, the construction industry has a lot to offer in terms of professional experiences and environments. But as almost everything in life, change doesn’t happen on its own – we need to work toward the change we want or need, starting with having the right mind-set for it. And, unfortunately, we also need to be aware that we may not always get what we want – although this, in itself, could open new opportunities…

I’ll conclude by saying that, at the end, it’s about looking for opportunities around us, identifying potential new paths, and learning to leverage past experiences to start in a new direction.

And I’d love to hear from you, the opportunities you took, the ones you created…