An Analysis of Entry-Level Construction Management Employment Ads in The New England Region

Nicholas Schiraldi , Benjamin Pelchar, and Bilge Gokhan Celik, Ph.D.
Roger Williams University
Bristol, Rhode Island

Employability is a major motivator for students to enroll in college, especially at professional schools. Construction Management (CM) is one program where it is common to create strong relationships with the industry to improve students’ employability. Although there is some research focusing on what employers are looking for in newly graduated CM students, there is not enough information that focuses on the actual employment advertisements and their contents. As the Internet has become a significant component of our daily lives, it is reasonable to assume that many candidates utilize online job search websites as a significant instrument during their job search process. There is inadequate research focusing on the content of specific job advertisements on these search websites, particularly for entry-level CM job positions.

The objective of this study is to identify major characteristics associated with advertisements for entry-level CM positions. These characteristics are then used to identify trends in employers’ needs and how they vary based on job titles. To accomplish these objectives, the authors conducted an extensive literature review to determine the top job search websites that are commonly used in the existing literature. Authors then referenced the University Construction Management program’s employment data to compose a list of the most common entry-level job titles for CM program graduates. Once the list of positions was created, the authors extracted the associated job listings and their contents from the selected website to compile a database to be examined. The qualitative analysis of the database was conducted via content and framework analysis of job descriptions, qualifications, and responsibilities using the Similarity Analysis and Categorical Variable features in MAXQDA 2018. This allowed authors to identify themes, patterns, and relationships within the employment needs of the construction industry in the New England region of the United States.

Authors analyzed 8 different entry-level job titles, totaling 78 job listings, throughout the New England region, posted as of the beginning of October 2019. Preliminary results indicate that “communication” was one of the most frequently sought-after skills among these positions regardless of the job title. Some of the other qualifications frequently mentioned consistently across all entry-level positions were “experience”, “degree”, and “Microsoft”. However, there were significant differences in responsibilities employers listed for the different entry-level positions. These findings indicate that the position a CM student is applying for requires qualifications that are most common across entry-level positions, while the responsibilities may differ based on the specific job title.

Results of this study will help CM students better prepare for what employers are looking for in entry-level position applicants in the New England region. Authors also believe that the results will help higher education institutions better understand the needs of the employers, thus provide further opportunities to enhance training and education available to maximize students’ employability during and after completion of their degrees.

Keywords: Construction jobs, Employment, Skills, Construction job ads, Construction job titles, Construction education