According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) and analysis by NAHB, half of payroll workers in construction earn more than $54,540 and the top quartile (top 25%) make at least $77,030. In comparison, the U.S. median wage is $46,310, while the top 25% makes at least $73,460.
The OEWS publishes wages for more than 406 occupations in construction. Out of these, only 58 are construction trades. The other industry workers are in finance, sales, administration and other off-site activities.
The highest paid occupation in construction is CEO, with half of CEOs making more than $163,410 per year and the top 25% highest paid CEOs earning more than $234,090. Lawyers working in construction are next on the list, with the median wages of $156,000 and the top 25% earning more than $213,120. Out of the next 12 highest paid trades in construction, 11 are various manager positions.
Among construction trades, elevator installers and repairers top the median wages list, with half of them earning more than $100,480 a year and the top 25% making at least $123,020. Rock splitters/quarry are next on the list, followed by first-line supervisors of construction trades.
In general, construction trades that require more years of formal education, specialized training or licensing tend to offer higher annual wages. Median wages of construction and building inspectors are $64,070, and the wages in the top quartile of the pay scale exceed $85,400. Half of plumbers in construction earn more than $60,070, with the top quartile making over $79,390. Electricians’ wages are similarly high.
Natalia Siniavskaia, NAHB assistant vice president for housing policy research, provides more details in this Eye on Housing post.