Leading Hand to Foreman: what to know when making the transition.

Leading Hand to Foreman: what to know when making the transition.
November 16, 2018 Construction People

Looking to make the transition from Leading Hand to Foreman? The move will provide you with plenty of opportunities to develop in your career, but it won’t be without some initial drawbacks. 

Leading Hand to Foreman | Construction People | Construction Recruitment Agency

So, here are some things to be aware of as you start your job search:

You’ll experience an initial pay cut – accept that this is a necessary step for your career.

Although you’re stepping up in responsibility, you should prepare for a pay drop when you first transition from a Leading Hand with a subcontractor to a Foreman with a head contractor.

There are a couple of reasons why this will occur:

  1. Firstly, the move will see you shift from an hourly rate to a salary – so no more overtime or penalty rates.
  2. Secondly, you’re essentially starting as a junior in your first Foreman role with a head contractor, and your pay will reflect this.

Accepting that this pay drop is coming and that it’s a necessary step for your career, will make the transition a lot easier for you. And the good news is, you can and will recover from this drop reasonably quickly.

So, think of it as short-term pain for long-term gain!

However, if a pay cut is going to bring stressors to your finances, we suggest you make the move as quickly as possible in your career. If you’re enjoying being a Leading Hand, but know you’ll want to step into a supervisory position with a head contractor down the track, start mapping out what you’ll need to do to get there.

Start by letting your managers know that you’re looking to progress. And put your hand up for any relevant opportunities opening up in the business.

Those above you at work are likely to be your biggest supporters as you look to progress in your career.


You’ll need to be open-minded. Your first Foreman role is about getting your foot in the door!

The biggest challenge you’ll face as you transition from Leading Hand to Foreman is securing your first role.

Which means you’ll need to be open-minded when considering potential employers.

There’s nothing wrong with listing your preferences, but make sure you consider all the offers presented to you.

A Foreman role with a tier 3 builder may not be your first preference, but the experience you will gain in your time there (such as being exposed to all aspects of the construction life-cycle) will set you up for something more preferable down the line.

Your career development opportunities will grow immensely as you transition from a Leading Hand with a subcontractor to a Foreman with a head contractor. While great experience to have under your belt, subcontractor businesses don’t generally have the size and structure to support their employee’s progression beyond a Leading Hand.

So, if you’re serious about moving beyond your current position, accept that there will be growing pains as you progress and keep the bigger picture in mind!

To chat with us further about this, contact our team on 07 3103 7777 or getstarted@constructionpeople.com.au. Alternatively, you can view our current available roles here.

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