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Different construction workers on a site
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Construction Roles in 2023: Responsibilities, Skills, Salaries and Hierarchies
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Kevin Forestell headshot
Kevin Forestell
August 8, 2023

Construction Roles: Responsibilities, Skills, Salaries, and Hierarchies

There are several different roles or sub-trades involved in every construction project. This guide will break down the various roles in the industry and help you better understand their position in the construction hierarchy in 2023. This includes defining their specific duties, the skills required for these roles, and more.

What is The Hierarchy of Construction Roles?

The hierarchy of construction job roles can vary depending on the size and complexity of the project, organization charts, as well as location. Common titles include construction laborers, apprentices, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, site supervisors, project managers, general contractors, and equipment operators.

Generally, the construction laborers that are essential for the manual labor required on-site sit at the bottom of the ranking. Above them are apprentices, which are individuals or students working to learn a specific trade.

Skilled tradespeople are those who have masted a specific trade and often teach apprentices. Some examples are carpenters, plumbers, welders, and electricians, each will typically require formal training and certifications.

Supervisors, also known as construction foremen, are one level above skilled tradespeople and are tasked with managing and coordinating the ongoings of the daily site work.

Project managers are among the highest rank that will be covered in this article. Project managers are responsible for planning, executing, and closing construction projects. They coordinate various aspects, including scheduling, budgeting, resource allocation, and communication with stakeholders.

Key Roles in Construction and Job Description

It's important to understand construction site roles, this section will help break down each role and its skills.

Construction Laborers

Working onsite completing various manual jobs, general laborers perform a wide range of work including trench work, unloading, and other demands of the job site. Some of the skills that are required to be a general laborer are being able to meet the physical demands of the job, hand-eye coordination, and familiarity with tools and machinery.

Skilled Tradespeople

The role of skilled tradespeople is to deal with performing specialized tasks (dependent on their specialized skills) to contribute to the construction, maintenance, repair, and production. The three most common skilled tradespeople are electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. The specific duties of these jobs range from diagnosing and fixing issues to constructing and installing new structures, within their specialty.


An electrician's role involves installing, maintaining, and repairing electrical systems and components. They use their expertise to ensure safe and efficient electrical connections in various settings, such as residential, commercial, and industrial environments.

Electricians are responsible for diagnosing electrical issues, following safety protocols, and implementing wiring, circuits, and fixtures.


Plumbers are skilled in working with pipes, fixtures, and fittings to ensure proper water supply, drainage, and sanitation in buildings. Diagnosing and fixing plumbing issues, such as leaks, clogs, and pipe damage, while adhering to safety guidelines and some of the daily tasks.

Whether in residential, commercial, or industrial settings, plumbers play a vital role in ensuring efficient water distribution, waste removal, and overall plumbing functionality.


While there are different types of carpenters, their role centers on crafting, constructing, and repairing wooden structures. Some types of carpenters are finish carpentry, framing carpentry, renovation carpentry, and more.

Carpenters are found working on various sites, completing jobs from building houses, to installing cabinets, and much more.

Site Supervisor

Site supervisors keep tabs on the status and progress of construction projects, ensuring that they remain on schedule and signed with safety regulations. They facilitate communication between different trades, monitor progress, and make real-time decisions that keep the project on schedule.

Site supervisors also handle the majority of paperwork and documentation of the daily occurrences and assist construction workers as needed on site. The most common degree for site supervisors is a bachelor's degree and a high school degree is usually required at large organizations. However, their leadership skills, technical knowledge, and organizational abilities contribute to the success of their construction projects.

Equipment Operators

An equipment operator's role involves operating heavy machinery and various different pieces of equipment being used in construction and other related industries. Their skills include maneuvering different equipment ranging from bulldozers, excavators, loaders, and more to perform tasks such as digging, lifting, moving materials, and shaping terrain.

Equipment operators are responsible to ensure safety, proper equipment maintenance, and efficiency on site. Having an expert onsite who is able to effectively use heavy machinery, to contribute to the success of the construction project.

Project Manager

A project manager is an individual who leads above the site supervisor and works alongside the engineers and architects. They work together to create a plan, manage money and time, and oversee hiring, firing, and project progress.

They also identify and mitigate risks, resolve issues, and make strategic decisions to achieve project goals. This is another position where leadership, organizational skills, and the ability to balance various elements contribute to the success of the projects.

General Contractor

General contractors oversee the completion of construction activities and daily tasks at a site. From meeting clients, setting budgets, hiring suppliers and labor, and managing schedules, they are always busy. They also help to ensure high-quality work, safety codes are followed, and complete inventory checks. They generally decide on equipment ownership and rentals too.

Understanding Role-Specific Safety Requirements

Common safety equipment for these roles includes color-coded hard hats, safety vests, ear protection, respirators, and harnesses for fall protection. Depending on the role, additional equipment like lockout and tagout devices, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and personal fall arrest systems might be required.

An essential part of ensuring safety on construction sites is having the correct machinery or equipment for that task. Safety practices and equipment in construction roles are tailored to the specific hazards each role entails. Adhering to these practices helps create a safer working environment, reduces accidents, and safeguards the well-being of everyone involved in construction projects.

Highest-Paying Construction Jobs

The 5 highest-paying construction jobs are construction superintendent, safety manager, construction equipment operator, carpenter, and brick mason. While the salary for each position will be dependent on your location, the company in which you work, and the type of construction happening in your area.

How To Get a Job in Construction

Entering the construction industry involves a few steps, from education and training to gaining practical experience. Start with a high school diploma or equivalent. Courses in math, physics, woodworking, and technical drawing can be beneficial. Consider enrolling in a trade school that offers programs related to construction, as these programs will provide hands-on experience and training that will come in handy.

Many construction trades offer apprenticeship programs, which are a valuable way to learn on the job while earning a wage. Apprenticeships typically combine classroom instruction with practical training under the guidance of experienced professionals. One of the best places to look for apprenticeship opportunities is through trade unions, industry associations, and individual construction companies.

Additionally, you will most likely need to complete certification or licenses to work. However, it will be dependent on your location and the regulations in your area. Another way to break into construction industry roles is by working as a laborer or apprentice. This will allow you to learn from experienced professionals, understand the trade's intricacies, and develop skills.

The Role of Equipment in Construction Jobs

Having the right equipment for each construction role is essential as it boosts efficiency, ensures worker safety, and increases the quality of work. It also leads to more accurate and productive tasks, adherence to regulations, and cost savings through reduced errors and rework.

If you're needing heavy equipment on your project, DOZR can help. With simple search features, you can easily access heavy equipment rentals from hundreds of rental companies and find the best price near your job site.

Find Your Next Equipment Rental on DOZR
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Kevin Forestell headshot
Kevin Forestell
Kevin Forestell is CEO of DOZR and one of the co-founders. Kevin first got started as an entrepreneur when he founded Forestell Landscaping right after graduating from University. His love and passion for the industry and desire to help solve an equipment problem that contractors faced every day is what brought the founding team to start DOZR. Kevin is proud of the level of efficiency brought to the industry through DOZR and hopes that DOZR will help change the standard way equipment is rented.
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