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Guide to UK Construction employment for working travellers

Get ahead of the competition by applying for jobs and registering with agencies up to two years before you plan to travel.

Prepare for the experience of a lifetime by reading this page and visiting our essential tips section.

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Construction Jobs in the UK

Other important topics for Construction Professionals!

"... everything is going great - I accepted a position in London. Thanks for all the help while I was still in Australia. I feel like I got a head start on other job hunters."   - James C., Vic.

Travelling to the UK and interested in a job within the construction industry? Register now.

Workateways’ UK-based recruitment agencies continually place Aussie/Kiwi/South African and Canadian construction professionals into a variety of positions within the construction industry. UK construction jobs exist within a wide range of areas including building, civils and quantity surveying and estimating.

Building Construction Jobs

Building construction projects are ongoing nearly UK-wide and include residential, commercial, retail, institutional and light industrial. Multi-storey office blocks continue to go up in all major urban centres with the result that specific construction experience with high-rise projects is in high demand. Site-based positions include, but are not limited to, Project Manager, Project Engineer, Site Manager, Site Engineer, Cost Manager, and Construction Manager. Contact Administrators are required as are engineers experienced in putting together professional tenders for building construction works.

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Civils Construction Jobs

Civils projects are concentrated in the South East and include a full range of projects such as roads & highways, water (dams, flood prevention works, distribution networks and treatment stations), and earthworks. Site-based positions include, Project Manager, Project Engineer, Site Manager, Site Engineer, Cost Manager, and Construction Manager. Contact Administrators are also required as are engineers experienced in putting together tenders for civils construction works. Surveyors or civil engineers with surveying experience can find work on roads and highway projects.

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Quantity Surveying

Candidates with either, experience in Quantity Surveying and a degree in construction management will find opportunities to be very good on a fairly consistent basis even in downturns. There is a shortage of Quantity Surveyors; a year or two of relevant experience is sufficient for most positions. Projects include both civils and building construction and rates of pay are relatively high. Jobs are available UK-wide, including busy central London. It is very helpful if you are flexible as to the location

Both professional Quantity Surveyors and those from a QS contractor background will find good opportunities though WORKgateways and our UK partners.

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Estimating Positions

There tends to always be a shortage of experienced Estimators in the UK. Those with estimating and/or tendering experience from within either the building or civils construction industry will find that there are positions available frequently. Rates of pay are quite good comparatively and projects located throughout the UK and in central London.

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Construction Engineer (Structural Bias)

Construction Engineers with a Structural background should read our Essential Guide for Structural Engineers and Technicians going to the UK.

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How much will I earn?

For most recently graduated or qualified individuals (two to three years experience) the average starting contract rate is usually between £12 to £17 per hour. This is approximate and does not take into account your tax status. See PAYE and Ltd Company.

Those arriving for work with four or more years of industry experience may expect their contract rates to start around £15 to £20 per hour. It is also important to note that your contract rates often increase relatively quickly as you gain UK experience.
Specialists, or those with skills and experience in high demand, can sometimes start on relatively high contract rates, or permanent salaries without having UK experience.

Within construction examples include Civils projects and Building/Structures projects - Project Engineering/Management especially alongside strong experience in cost control and planning packages like Primavera P3 or MS Project. In these cases you might expect a contract rate of over £17 and sometimes even up to £25 per hour initially. Even just a few months UK experience will also increase your next contract rate.

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What is the general outlook for the UK Construction industry?

Employment to the construction industry has sustained interesting times over the last few years. Whilst building construction slowed significantly after the financial crisis heavy civil contruction projects remain relatively strong backed by the 2012 Olympics. This trend looks to continue as public spending on infrastructure and privately funded developments continue. The construction industry is usually at its peak during the warmer Spring and Summer months but can sustain solid levels of recruitment throughout the year. Smaller peaks and troughs are normal and do occur – prepare before you go over by applying to suitable jobs and registering with recruitment agencies. (This can be done on this website) You will increase your chances of securing a position quickly in both busy and slower recruitment environments.

To get the best job for your experience register with recruitment agencies up to 2 years before you plan to travel to the UK. We also recommend that you apply to positions about three months before you arrive. You can also learn how to get the most out of your WORKgateways UK job search.

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What should my Construction Resume look like?

Be sure your resume includes specific details of your construction project experience. This is the most common complaint from UK recruitment consultants – ‘not enough information or detail!’ For example, for each project indicate the type of project and works carried out, your job position, your duties and responsibilities, the approximate project value, duration and project result if applicable. If you have far too many projects to list, please choose five or six representative projects. If the scope of your project experience seems too wide – you are better off leaving information on and your UK recruitment consultant can tailor your experience to a given job.

You can upload and update your UK construction resume for your WORKgateways file at any time from your log-in. Your resume is then on-line and can be viewed by the UK based construction recruitment companies with whom you choose to register.

Want to know more about living and working in the Britain?

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