Vice president of operations in construction: Skills to master

Vice president of operations in construction: Skills to master

The vice president of operations in a construction company fulfills a key leadership role, with a hand in just about every department. Keep reading to learn more about what the vice president of operations in construction does along with employment statistics and a list of essential skills for this role.

What does the vice president of operations in construction do?

The vice president of operations in construction is responsible for ensuring their employer’s construction operations remain profitable and perform in line with productivity expectations. A typical vice president of operations job description for construction might include the following responsibilities:

  • overseeing management of the organization’s finances and overall development
  • collaborating with construction project management professionals to ensure resources are available when needed
  • taking steps to prepare the company’s construction operations for the future (based on demand projections)
  • overseeing employee support and incentivization programs
  • maintaining client relationships

At companies that offer services other than construction, the vice president of operations may work alongside operations managers for other departments (i.e. engineering).

Note: A vice president of operations in construction may also be referred to as a vice president of construction.

Vice president of operations in construction employment statistics

Next, let’s discuss employment statistics for the vice president of operations role in construction.

Salary and benefits (United States)

According to Indeed, vice presidents of operations in construction earn an average base salary of $143,548 across the United States. The job board reports that professionals filling this role tend to be paid most in Boston, Massachusetts, earning an average of $204,976 per year.

Indeed also reports that the following benefits are common among vice presidents of construction:

  • bereavement leave
  • stock options
  • health insurance
  • fuel discount
  • 401(k) matching

Demographics

According to Zippia, 77% of vice presidents of construction in the United States are white. Hispanic professionals make up 14% while the remaining roughly 9% is split between African-Americans, Asians, Indigenous peoples, and those classified as “other.”

Zippia also reports that 59% of vice presidents of construction hold bachelor’s degrees. Only 3% of professionals in this role cut their educational journey short after receiving a high school diploma.

In regards to tenure, Zippia reports 28% of vice presidents of construction stay in their roles for 1-2 years. The breakdown following that point looks like this:

  • 3-4 years: 20%
  • 5-7 years: 19%
  • 8-10 years: 8%
  • 11 years: 19%

Lastly, here’s the age distribution Zippia reports for those in the vice president of construction role:

  • 20-30 years old: 7%
  • 30-40 years old: 26%
  • 40 years and older: 47%

Skills required to succeed as a vice president of operations in construction

Next, let’s discuss the skills that vice presidents of operations in construction typically have.

Construction project management

Construction project management is a very broad discipline. As we discussed in this article, it includes (but is by no means limited to) activities such as:

  • high-level project management
  • schedule management
  • contract administration
  • team management
  • cost analysis and management

While a vice president of construction would never be solely responsible for all facets of construction project management, they’re ultimately accountable for results. Accordingly, they need to have a firm handle on construction management best practices. They also need to be aware of what’s happening in each area at any given time to ensure it aligns with company objectives.

Verbal and written communication

Vice presidents of construction have many direct reports. Consequently, strong communication skills are essential as they delegate and meet with other professionals in various roles.

The ability to work under pressure

Being accountable for results across an entire organization’s construction department comes with a lot of pressure. Accordingly, vice presidents of construction need to be capable of working well under pressure – especially given that things typically don’t go exactly as planned on construction projects.

Interpersonal skills

As mentioned earlier, vice presidents of construction work with (and are accountable to) many people. Those who succeed in this role, therefore, typically have very strong interpersonal skills. They don’t let personal conflicts get in the way of objectives but rather get along well with others and are capable of solving conflicts promptly as they arise.

Decision-making

Vice presidents of construction routinely make decisions that can have tremendous impacts on the companies they work for. It should go without saying, then, that they need to be capable of making the right decisions.

Beyond that, they should be skilled enough in the decision-making process to convincingly walk other professionals and stakeholders through their rationale for making certain calls.

Time management

With so much on their plate, vice presidents of construction need to be experts at time management, which includes scheduling their own tasks and managing other stakeholders’ expectations regarding deliverables.

Attention to detail

While vice presidents of construction manage many aspects of their employers’ businesses from a high level, they still need to have a keen eye for details that might impact projects down the line. This is important as they’ll be the last line of defense in many regards.

Construction-specific hard skills

Vice president of construction is by no means an entry level (or even intermediate) position in the industry. Rather, companies looking to hire professionals in this role typically prefer candidates with several years of experience in construction. The candidate’s prior experience should serve as evidence that they’ve acquired a variety of construction-specific skills, including (but by no means limited to):

Leadership

Vice presidents of construction need to command the confidence of their direct reports and other stakeholders. A large part of this boils down to having a solid resume. All the experience in the world doesn’t mean much, however, in the absence of solid leadership skills, which involves knowing how to delegate and create a positive work environment, among other concerns.

Bridgit Bench is the resource management tool of choice among vice presidents of construction

Decision makers at construction companies throughout the world (including Skanska, WCS, Skender, and more) swear by Bridgit Bench for their resource management needs. Learn more about Bridgit Bench and read our customer success stories here.


We hope you’ve found this article helpful from the perspective of understanding the vice president of construction role. For more information about construction management (including other roles) visit our blog here.


Brandon-Richard Austin

Brandon-Richard Austin is a writer and content strategist focused on the construction sector. He’s passionate about educating readers on construction management techniques and best practices.

Abstract vector created by vectorjuice – www.freepik.com