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How to Achieve Your Dream Construction Job

It’s never worth accepting or doing a construction job that doesn’t interest or motivate you.  If you are unhappy with the job you are in or the job offers you are receiving, perhaps it is worth reflecting on how the role you are doing could be changed to make it more engaging and stimulating.

Doing a job you enjoy is likely to lead to greater success and reward and is also a win for your employer and the recruitment agent representing you.

We often speak to people who want a more significant change than a mere change of company. Perhaps you might want to work in a different construction sector in a similar role, or in an entirely different role utilising valuable transferable skills, or perhaps relocation to a different country might reinvigorate you?

Here is a review of some of the types of changes that you might consider making to reenergise your career path:

  • Change the Construction Sector you work in. For example transfer:
    • From Oil & Gas to Water?
    • From Rail to Highways?
    • From Build to Infrastructure?
  • Try a different role within the construction industry. For example:
    • From Quantity Surveying to a Quantum Disputes Consultant job role?
    • From Planning / Programming into a Delay Planning role?
    • From Quantity Surveying into a Bank / Loan Monitoring job role?
    • From a Quantity Surveying / Project Management job into an Employers Agent role?
  • Or how about a Relocation:
    • From UK to an English speaking international location with major projects?
    • Relocate from elsewhere in the world to the UK

Below, I have provided some advice for each of the above options which I hope will be useful to anyone considering these options.

Advice on changing CONSTRUCTION SECTOR

This example is for Quantity Surveyors who want to continue to do the Quantity Surveying role, but in a different construction sector.

Methods of doing this could include any of the following:

  • Look at sectors that are similar or related so your experience is still relevant and useful
  • Find new sectors that use the same forms of contract
  • Be flexible on your salary expectations especially in the first year or two of change.

One way to do this, is to look in a different but relatable sector. For instance, it will be more difficult to switch from buildings to infrastructure than it will be to transfer from the Oil & Gas environment into the Water sector. Using this example, both Oil & Gas specialists and Water specialists are dealing with similar construction products such as pipelines and process plants. If you can find a sector that is different enough to make you interested, but has similar projects such as in this example, this could be a good way to get out of the sector in which you currently specialise in.

Another, is to look for sectors in which there is a common use of Contract. For instance, if you have extensive NEC contract experience, or JCT (the two most common in the UK), then looking for an opportunity in a different sector on a project(s) that use the same form of contract could be prudent. Your experience with the contract will be seen as beneficial even if you don’t have much experience in that sector as yet in your career, and so the transfer won’t be such a step if you are an expert in contract being utilised.

Finally, be wary of asking for an increase in salary. I can’t count the amount of Quantity Surveyors that I speak to, who want to change sectors, but also ask for an increase in salary as a “must, otherwise it’s not worth me moving”. What is your main motive – to change sector, or increase your salary? Any prospective employer will see right through this. They will happily employ someone with more relevant experience for the same salary that you are asking for, so be willing to be flexible on salary if you are seriously motivated. In some cases, you may be able to maintain your current salary. However, depending how drastic the change in sector, you may likely have to consider a slight drop in salary to be an interesting candidate for an employer. They will then see that you are serious, and have clear motives, and aren’t just a money grabber. Focus on your career, not the immediate salary – this can come later!

Advice on acquiring a different ROLE within the construction industry

To recap, here are some examples of how one construction job role can evolve and progress to another:

  • From Quantity Surveying to a Quantum Disputes Consultant job role
  • From Planning / Programming into a Delay Planning role
  • From Quantity Surveying into a Bank / Loan Monitoring job role
  • From a Quantity Surveying / Project Management job into an Employers Agent role

In general, some of the same points apply as when trying to change construction sectors. Some key advice points are:

  • Show a clear motive - tailor your CV!
  • Be reasonable on salary
  • Pursue any relevant qualifications

If you are changing role within the industry, it is important to tailor your CV so no one mistakes it for an “accidental application”. A clear, concise personal profile outlining what you are looking for goes a very long way, as well as elaborating the parts of you experience that are relevant to the new type of role you are applying to (i.e. any claims experience if you are targeting a disputes role).

Salary consideration should be a given. Be reasonable on salary, and don’t expect to be paid more to transfer into a sector you haven’t worked in before. Yes, you might have very transferable skills, but be patient, and reap the benefits in the future.

Qualifications can be one of the best ways to show a clear motive to change your type of role. Qualifications cost money and time, so it shows a real commitment to specialising in something different. As well as a personal profile edit, putting extra relevant qualifications on your CV that are relevant to what you want to do will stand out.

Advice on RELOCATION to a different country

This is a question we get asked a lot as a business known for its recruitment work in the UK, Middle East, Far East, and more recently Canada.

Some key advice points, are the following:

  • Be willing to cover the cost of your relocation if necessary
  • Think it through, reduce complications where possible and be upfront about things
  • Be proactive and get a Visa if relevant to your target location
  • Be flexible on salary

Be prepared to cover some or all of your relocation cost. The UK market is renowned for this, as are many other countries. If you apply to a company in a different country, remember – YOU are the applicant. They haven’t headhunted you despite having a vacancy. You are choosing to relocate overseas and so you should be motivated enough to cover the cost of your relocation, at least in the most part. You haven’t started working for them yet and so you are adding no value to them until you start. They are adding value to you, in offering you a position in a location you want to move to, so be prepared to cover the cost of moving. In some cases, it is the case that a company will support financially a relocation, however not all cases. The payment of relocation costs is much more common with internal transfers within the same company rather than when changing company.

Secondly, THINK it through. This sounds simple, but you’d be surprised. Have you prepared and done enough research that you are able to move at a month’s notice, or whatever your notice period is? Have you checked where you are going to live, how much flights are, what the education could be like for your children, and accommodation prices? Do you know the cost of living and how much salary you will require to be happy? We want to know that you have done your research when speaking to us so that we are confident that if we get you what you ask for, you will accept it without a delay due to you doing this research after being made an offer.  Do you have any long holidays booked or other family or personal commitments that need to be considered at this stage?

Can you acquire your own Visa? This advice originates from our recent recruitment work in Canada. I found a highly capable British individual work with a global consultancy in Toronto in February this year. However, his capability wouldn’t have been given the chance to shine through had he not applied for a 2 year working holiday visa, which reduced all complication for the company having to try to get him through the more complicated visa sponsorship process. Find out if you are eligible for any sort of visa in your preferred location, without a company having to sponsor you. This may change you from being an average candidate to being a highly attractive one.  If you are not eligible for a work visa automatically, if you are a perfect match for the role there still might be a chance of success, so it is still worth preparing and submitting your CV.

Yet again it is worth stating that Salary flexibility is key. You will be paid what you are worth in a new location – we will make sure you receive the fair market rate. Just be aware that the forms of contract might be different and they will have different methods of working. You are a newbie in a new world and so cannot demand sky high salaries. Be willing to go with the flow and accept advice on this.


Maxim are specialists in exploring how different roles, locations and employers can help construction professionals to achieve their career goals and personal ambitions. Hopefully this article will help those considering a change but who have question marks over what to do and how to do it to reflect tactically on their best way forward

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