Military Veterans Bring Safety, Leadership and Career Ambition to Construction

Military veterans have invaluable skills that position them well for careers in construction.
By Dale L. Crawford
June 29, 2022

Military veterans have invaluable skills that position them well for careers in construction. Veterans have great leadership and teamwork skills, sometimes with actual hands-on experience, as there are many engineering and electronic roles in the military. Veterans also respect hierarchy and have excellent communication skills that help inspire their teams to reach common goals. Military veterans are an invaluable asset to the construction industry. However, veterans of construction should also be commended for their commitment to training those who have come after them and will succeed them.

Post-Discharge Career Opportunity

Over 15% of all veterans enter the construction industry after completing their military duties. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Population Survey data, approximately 522,846 veterans work in the construction and extraction occupation post discharge. Veterans tend to be attracted to construction work because of the overlapping skills needed in the military and construction. Veterans can leverage skills they learned during their time in the armed forces to later land lucrative and fulfilling careers in the construction industry. Many military veterans already have construction-related knowledge and the abilities needed to work in construction, like physical strength, stamina, building and mechanical knowledge.

Those who have been in the military also tend to have excellent vision and depth perception—which is very important for construction work.

Safety and Mission Focused

Military veterans also have an extreme regard for safety. Veterans put the safety of their team above all and they rely on one another to stay safe. Working on a jobsite can be a dangerous task and those who have been through military training are well informed in navigating potentially dangerous situations.

Veterans’ mission-oriented mindsets are imperative to climb the ranks in the construction industry. The ability to set a goal and take the steps to reach it is an essential skill to acquire no matter one’s rank on a jobsite or base. Leaders, like sergeants and foreman, must be able to clearly strategize and communicate their plan to their subordinates and those subordinates must have the will to reach that goal effectively as a team. Veterans are accustomed to challenges and thrive in environments that test their problem-solving abilities.

Leadership Mentality

Military veterans are team players who often possess great leadership and team working skills. In the military, military personnel must respect the leadership of their commanding officers. Similarly, on a jobsite, the team must respect the foreman’s plans and decisions. Military veterans’ understanding and respect for a leader ultimately creates a cohesive working environment, as they understand the need to respect the word of their foreman and rely on their team members to inspire one another to reach a common goal.

Value of Veteran Construction Workers

Veterans of the construction industry or seasoned construction workers are also invaluable assets to a jobsite. They have the gift of years of experience and knowledge to pass down to those just beginning their careers, providing insight and proper training to new workers. They act as mentors and can advise new employees on their careers based on insurmountable knowledge and experience in the construction industry. They have most likely seen or averted dangerous situations that new talent can avoid with the advice of those who came before them. Those new to construction, whether military veterans or civilians, can look to those with the years of experience to learn old tricks that can only be taught on the job and model their career and work ethic.

Military veterans can bring experience to a jobsite, creating cohesive, efficient and safe working environments with the knowledge they gained serving their countries. This can make military veterans excellent candidates who excel and succeed in the construction industry.

by Dale L. Crawford
Dale L. Crawford is the Executive Director and Director of Conduit of the Steel Tube Institute. Dale is responsible for the organization’s activities to promote the growth and competitiveness of steel pipe and tubular products throughout North America. In addition to these responsibilities, he is in charge of activities, strategies, and programs of the Steel Tube Institute’s Conduit Section, which consists of North America’s leading steel conduit manufacturers. Dale is a Certified LEED Green Associate (LEED GA) by the U.S. Green Building Council 

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