Large Builder vs Smaller Builder – Careers

Large Builder vs Smaller Builder – Careers
November 15, 2023 Construction People

It’s always good to factor into your job considerations the differences between working for a large builder vs a smaller builder. There are benefits to working in each, but it’s important to know what will work best for your personality and career goals.

large builder vs smaller builder career considerations

That’s why, when we work with job seekers, we always advise that they understand what they want in terms of project size, type and organisational culture and then find an employer that suits them.

Below, we look at some of the general pros & cons of large and smaller builders.

Large Builder Pros

Better salaries

This is largely influenced by the variations in project size, type and responsibilities. So, if money is a key driver in your employment decision, this is something you should consider.

Job security

The projects are bigger and will generally provide you with strong job security as project timelines can run anywhere from 2-5 years.

In-depth experience

You can control a small part of a bigger process and gain an in-depth understanding of your role. Your focus will generally be on a centralised set of tasks providing the opportunity to build expertise in your chosen area of work.

Industry best practice

Larger builders employ state-of-the-art systems and technology, striving to achieve optimal results, rather than simply meeting minimum industry standards.

Training advantages

There‘s more access to both formal and informal training with larger builders, where you aren’t solely reliant on the skills and knowledge of a small group of people as with a smaller builder. Instead, you’ll be exposed to a wide range of individuals who can provide invaluable insights and expertise.

Large Builder Cons

Working longer days and weeks

This is due to the size, scope and complexity of the jobs being carried out.

The mundane

Working on the same build day in day out offers less diversity in work, which depending on personality type, some consider mundane.

Being pigeonholed

Working on a small part of the bigger process can create hurdles later if you decide to move into something different (eg. Finishes Foreman to Structures Foreman). It can also be challenging to progress in companies of this size (eg. CA to PM role etc) as there is a lot of perceived risk involved for a builder letting a first-time PM cut their teeth on a $100m + development.

large builder vs smaller builder career considerations

Smaller Builder Pros

Wider construction exposure

Smaller builders offer greater project diversity and also exposure to a wider range of tasks and responsibilities which will broaden your skillset as you’ll be across the entire construction process beyond your own role. This means there’ll be less chance of being pigeonholed.


You’ll have greater access to a builder’s owners/directors, and usually, these business leaders are very willing to provide mentoring opportunities. This means you’ll have more of a say in business activities and the chance to gain a business understanding of the industry beyond the project build.

Increased work/life balance

Generally, the size and complexity of the jobs carried out by these builders are smaller and less technical with fewer control processes in the project delivery phase. Therefore, there is higher productivity, and the projects move at a quicker pace.

Career progression

Career progression is often more attainable as the perceived risk of letting a less experienced professional take the lead on a project isn’t as high in smaller builders, so the opportunity to progress is easier to come by.

Smaller Builder Cons

Less in-depth experience

There’ll be less exposure to one particular role. The old adage ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ comes to mind here which can hold you back if you’d like to move to a larger builder down the track.

Lower salary

In general, salaries are less competitive compared to larger builders, due to the smaller size, scope and complexity of the works being carried out. So, if salary is your key driver, you should factor this into your employment decision.

Limited large project exposure

If your goal is to deliver on large projects, you’ll eventually need to move on from the smaller builder space. Project experience in this dollar value range is something you’ll only find in your large builders.

Challenges with systems

Smaller builders often have limited financial resources to obtain current software and project management systems, which can result in basic systems and limited training resources. In these cases, training is often provided by the owner or a small group of individuals, who may not be effective at teaching the best methods for approaching your role.


Remember, there is no right or wrong employer. Your personality, preferences and career goals should drive who you work for. That’s why it’s crucial to understand the pros and cons of working in the different tiered builders before starting out your job search. What works for some won’t work for others.

Looking for your next construction job? Search our current construction roles here, or to chat with our team about securing your next opportunity, get in contact with us through our Contact Us page.

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