Best-Paying U.S. Cities for Construction Managers in 2021

While many industries suffered during the pandemic, construction kept going strong amid low interest rates and increased housing demand.

Ironically, even though construction is booming, firms are having a hard time finding labor. Experts are divided on why this is, but one prevailing notion is that many people see construction as a job of last resort, rather than a field in which they can build a meaningful career.

Despite this, salary data from the BLS indicates that construction management positions pay top-tier wages. In 2020, a full-time construction manager’s median weekly wage was $1,575, which was slightly higher than the $1,541 number for all management occupations and 60% higher than that across all occupations.

Furthermore, construction management jobs offer strong wages not only compared to managerial positions in other industries, but they provide a significant pay advantage over non-managerial jobs in the construction field. A typical full-time construction worker makes about 42% less than construction managers, according to the BLS.

Chart1_Compensation for construction managers is similar to other mgmt jobs

Unlike manual labor that is characteristic of many of these occupations, construction management more closely resembles a general management role. Construction managers coordinate not just building activities, but also permitting and compliance, contract negotiations, accounting, and safety, among other functions. The role has also changed rapidly in recent years thanks to the industry’s technology boom. As venture capital money has poured in, new software—like construction management software or takeoff software—is changing the job for many construction professionals, especially managers. In the long-term, this, combined with strong wages, could make such positions more appealing to younger workers.

In general, construction managers earn the highest cost-of-living-adjusted annual pay in northern and eastern states. Delaware is the best-paying state, with an adjusted wage of over $130,000 per year. Wisconsin ($118,716), New Jersey ($118,259), and North Carolina ($111,668) also report some of the highest wages for construction managers after adjusting for living costs. Notable exceptions are Vermont ($78,836), Maine ($81,138), and New Hampshire ($87,803) in the Northeast, which report some of the lowest adjusted wages for construction managers in the country.

Chart2_Northern & eastern states offer highest pay for construction managers

FOR CONSTRUCTION MANAGERS

The unique financial aspects of running a construction business—such as job costing, contract-based revenue recognition, and retainage—make using a specialized accounting platform critical. Construction accounting software is specifically designed with these needs in mind, allowing construction managers to track job-specific profits and losses, handle billing, and more.


To identify the metropolitan areas that offer the best pay for construction managers, researchers at Construction Coverage analyzed data from the BLS and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. They calculated and ranked metros by their cost-of-living adjusted wages for construction managers. In the event of a tie, the location with the greater unadjusted wage was ranked higher. To improve relevance, only metros with at least 100,000 people were considered and metros were divided into cohorts based on population.

Here are the best-paying metropolitan areas for construction managers.

Chart3_The best-paying small & midsize metros for construction managers

The Best-Paying Large Metros for Construction Managers

Hartford, CT

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15. Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT

  • Median annual wage for construction managers (adjusted): $103,376
  • Median annual wage for construction managers (actual): $105,960
  • Median annual wage for all construction occupations (actual): $60,300
  • Cost of living (compared to average): +2.5%
Birmingham, AL

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14. Birmingham-Hoover, AL

  • Median annual wage for construction managers (adjusted): $103,692
  • Median annual wage for construction managers (actual): $91,560
  • Median annual wage for all construction occupations (actual): $41,010
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -11.7%

FOR CONSTRUCTION MANAGERS

While some insurance companies categorize builders risk as a type of inland marine insurance, there are important differences between the two policies. Whereas builders risk insurance typically covers a given structure and its corresponding materials during the course of construction, a standard inland marine insurance policy isn’t linked to a particular job and will provide general protection for equipment over longer time periods.


Los Angeles, CA

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13. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

  • Median annual wage for construction managers (adjusted): $104,655
  • Median annual wage for construction managers (actual): $124,330
  • Median annual wage for all construction occupations (actual): $58,530
  • Cost of living (compared to average): +18.8%
Raleigh, NC

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12. Raleigh-Cary, NC

  • Median annual wage for construction managers (adjusted): $108,855
  • Median annual wage for construction managers (actual): $104,610
  • Median annual wage for all construction occupations (actual): $43,340
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -3.9%
Columbus, OH

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11. Columbus, OH

  • Median annual wage for construction managers (adjusted): $108,908
  • Median annual wage for construction managers (actual): $99,760
  • Median annual wage for all construction occupations (actual): $50,800
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -8.4%
Providence, RI

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10. Providence-Warwick, RI-MA

  • Median annual wage for construction managers (adjusted): $109,272
  • Median annual wage for construction managers (actual): $109,600
  • Median annual wage for all construction occupations (actual): $54,590
  • Cost of living (compared to average): +0.3%
Pittsburgh, PA

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9. Pittsburgh, PA

  • Median annual wage for construction managers (adjusted): $109,426
  • Median annual wage for construction managers (actual): $101,110
  • Median annual wage for all construction occupations (actual): $53,410
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -7.6%
Cincinnati, OH

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8. Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN

  • Median annual wage for construction managers (adjusted): $109,614
  • Median annual wage for construction managers (actual): $99,310
  • Median annual wage for all construction occupations (actual): $49,640
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -9.4%
New York, NY

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7. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

  • Median annual wage for construction managers (adjusted): $110,660
  • Median annual wage for construction managers (actual): $139,100
  • Median annual wage for all construction occupations (actual): $62,950
  • Cost of living (compared to average): +25.7%
San Jose, CA

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6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

  • Median annual wage for construction managers (adjusted): $111,215
  • Median annual wage for construction managers (actual): $140,910
  • Median annual wage for all construction occupations (actual): $64,870
  • Cost of living (compared to average): +26.7%
St. Louis, MO

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5. St. Louis, MO-IL

  • Median annual wage for construction managers (adjusted): $113,396
  • Median annual wage for construction managers (actual): $102,170
  • Median annual wage for all construction occupations (actual): $67,400
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -9.9%
Charlotte, NC

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4. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC

  • Median annual wage for construction managers (adjusted): $114,407
  • Median annual wage for construction managers (actual): $108,000
  • Median annual wage for all construction occupations (actual): $41,270
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -5.6%
Detroit, MI

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3. Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI

  • Median annual wage for construction managers (adjusted): $115,593
  • Median annual wage for construction managers (actual): $110,160
  • Median annual wage for all construction occupations (actual): $55,980
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -4.7%
Milwaukee, WI

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2. Milwaukee-Waukesha, WI

  • Median annual wage for construction managers (adjusted): $121,121
  • Median annual wage for construction managers (actual): $114,580
  • Median annual wage for all construction occupations (actual): $60,930
  • Cost of living (compared to average): -5.4%
Philadelphia, PA

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1. Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

  • Median annual wage for construction managers (adjusted): $123,362
  • Median annual wage for construction managers (actual): $129,900
  • Median annual wage for all construction occupations (actual): $57,890
  • Cost of living (compared to average): +5.3%

Detailed Findings & Methodology

The data used in this analysis is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis Regional Price Parities dataset. To determine the best-paying locations for construction managers, researchers calculated the cost-of-living adjusted median annual wage for construction managers. In the event of a tie, the location with the higher actual (unadjusted) median annual wage for construction managers was ranked higher. To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 residents were included. Additionally, metros were grouped into cohorts based on population size: small (100,000–349,999), midsize (350,000–999,999), and large (1,000,000 or more).

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