From rows upon rows of workers throwing up new housing developments to new high-rise buildings climbing their way upward slowly over months, construction as an industry and an occupation is a cornerstone of the American economy. Unfortunately, construction workers can experience awesome boom times, like the home building frenzy of the 2000s housing bubble, to serious lows, such as in the early 2010s after the bubble burst.
However, what’s less well known is which kinds of construction jobs earn the most money. In order to identify the highest paying construction jobs, we analyzed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Occupational Employment Statistics (OES), and zeroed in on occupations that fall into their category Construction and Extraction Occupations, while making sure to exclude extraction jobs. (According to the BLS’s occupation codes, 47-0000 is the code for Construction and Extraction Occupations, but construction jobs fall between 47-1000 and 47-5000, with the latter marking the start of Extraction Occupations).
Read on to find out the highest paying construction jobs in 2023.
10 Highest Paying Construction Jobs in 2023
Looking at the highest paying construction jobs of 2023, four jobs have average annual salaries in excess of $70,000. For comparison, the average annual wage for All Occupations in the U.S. is $61,900 per year. The other six highest paying construction jobs have average annual salaries of over $63,000, which is only slightly better than the national average for All Occupations.
What’s interesting, though, is that nearly all the highest paying construction jobs have experienced a steady increase in wages over the last five years. For example, the No. 1 highest paying construction job in our list experienced an increase of 21.8% from 2017 to 2022 (year the latest BLS wage data is available for): From $77,130 up to $93,960.
Below is a breakdown of the top 10 highest paying construction jobs in the United States:
1. Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers
Average Annual Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers Salary: $93,960
Average Hourly Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers Wage: $45.17
2. Construction Managers
Average Annual Construction Manager Salary: $77,650
Average Hourly Construction Manager Wage: $37.33
3. Pile Driver Operators
Average Annual Pile Driver Operator Salary: $70,220
Average Hourly Pile Driver Operator Wage: $33.76
4. Construction and Building Inspectors
Average Annual Construction and Building Inspector Salary: $70,130
Average Hourly Construction and Building Inspector Wage: $33.72
Average Annual Boilermaker Salary: $69,780
Average Hourly Boilermaker Wage: $33.55
Average Annual Taper Salary: $65,880
Average Hourly Taper Wage: $31.67
Average Annual Electrician Salary: $65,280
Average Hourly Electrician Wage: $31.39
8. Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters
Average Annual Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters Salary: $65,190
Average Hourly Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters Wage: $31.34
9. Structural Iron and Steel Workers
Average Annual Structural Iron and Steel Workers Salary: $64,800
Average Hourly Structural Iron and Steel Workers Wage: $31.15
10. Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operators
Average Annual Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operators Salary: $63,840
Average Hourly Rail-Track Laying and Maintenance Equipment Operators Wage: $30.69
Trends in the Highest Paying Construction Jobs
There are some noteworthy trends when it comes to the highest paying construction jobs. The construction occupation that experienced the biggest growth in average annual pay is Helpers-Roofers, which increased by 37.6%, from $29,710 in 2017 to $40,880 in 2022. Terrazzo Workers and Finishers come in second place here, seeing its average annual wage increase by 35.5% over the same period: From $45,520 to $61,680. And the construction job with the third highest growth over the last five years is Stonemasons, which increased by 32.4%: From $42,370 to $56,100.
Looking on a state-by-state level, the highest paying construction job still tends to be Elevator and Escalator Installers and Repairers. In Hawaii, they earn an average annual salary of $123,910; in Massachusetts, they earn $118,930 on average; and in Maine, they earn $117,400 on average.
Below you’ll find a table of all highest paying construction jobs in the U.S. that the BLS has wage data for. Included in the table are the occupation titles, average hourly wages, average annual wages, and change over the last five years: