Skills you need for the construction industry

Find out what skills employers want you to have for construction jobs

If you want an exciting career in construction you’ll need certain skills to get an apprenticeship or a job with a good employer.

Now is a great time to get work in New Zealand’s booming construction industry, which needs 57,600 more workers by 2026. Job and training opportunities are good but employability skills improve your chances of getting an apprenticeship and work in the industry.

Skills valued by employers in the construction industry

Here are the main skills employers are looking for in the construction industry.

1. Positive attitude

Remaining positive and respectful of others makes a big difference to enjoying your job. It also shows your employer and co-workers that you’re a valuable and friendly team member.

2. Teamwork

Construction projects require workers to work well together as a team so that quality work is delivered safely and on time. Teamwork helps you to build trust with your co-workers and employer. 

3. Self-management

Managing yourself so you can get to work on time and finish your tasks is a great skill to have in the construction industry. If you can manage your time and yourself properly, cope with deadlines, bad weather and stress, you’ll have a good chance of finishing your training and dealing with life on the job.

4. Willingness to learn

Being willing to learn shows your employer that you’re interested in the work and increases your chances of learning your trade properly. New technologies, tools and construction methods mean you’ll need this skill to stay up-to-date with changes in the industry.

5. Critical thinking skills

The ability to think things through to avoid mistakes and get the best results is an important skill in the construction industry. For example, a carpenter checks the weather forecast and schedules indoor jobs if it might rain so that work can continue.

6. Safety-conscious

Being aware of your surroundings and any safety risks in the workplace can save lives as there are many hazards on construction worksites. For example, knowing that exposed wiring is dangerous because of the risk of electric shock means you can report the hazard and get it fixed.   

7. Hard-working

Construction employers value workers who are hard-working and can complete physical tasks easily. Doing the best job possible and staying fit will help you cope with the demands of jobs in the construction industry.

8. Communication

Communication and listening are important skills for learning and doing your job properly. Oral and written communication is needed every day in the construction industry, for example, ordering supplies, recording measurements and talking to co-workers.

How to get the skills employers want

You can develop skills for the construction industry by looking for opportunities to learn, such as:

  • getting involved in sports teams or school activities such as the Young Enterprise Scheme
  • getting a driver’s licence, as you may need to travel to different worksites
  • finding volunteer work or a part-time job related to construction
  • getting construction work experience through the Gateway programme
  • talking to people in the industry about their jobs.

Find out more


  • Immigration New Zealand, 'Construction and Infrastructure Skill Shortage List', 17 December 2018, (
  • NZ Herald, ‘New study shows extra 57,600 people needed in building sector, as PM announces trade skills push’, 8 February 2019, (

Updated 31 Oct 2019