Approximately 1.6 million construction laborers are employed throughout the United States. Most work in heavily populated industrial areas and are employed mainly by contractors who complete large projects. Some rare projects may require travel to foreign countries, though contractors with these jobs often use local workers instead. Increasingly, the industry is making use of temporary workers hired on a project basis to move materials or to clean up a site. Many construction laborers contract their services through temporary help agencies, which hire them out for short-term jobs.
The usual first step in getting a job in this field is to apply directly to a construction contractor or to the local office of the Laborers' International Union of North America. Workers who have completed a construction craft worker apprenticeship program usually are considered first for job openings above those applicants who have no prior experience.
Without additional training, construction laborers have limited opportunities for advancement. Some laborers move into jobs as mechanics or skilled operators of construction equipment. Workers who show responsibility and good judgment may be promoted to supervisory positions. Laborers may also decide to leave the field for training in one of the skilled trades, such as carpentry.
Tips for Entry
Be willing to relocate. It may open more job opportunities.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Become certified in order to show employers that you have met the highest standards established by your industry.
Join the Laborers' International Union of North America to increase your chances of receiving fair pay for your work and learning about job openings.