Building and Public Work

With a senior consultant who has held executive positions in leading groups in the construction sector for 15 years, Phénicia Conseil offers its clients high quality advice on international recruitment for strategic positions in the sector.

Presentation of the sector

A heavyweight in the economy, the building and public works sector is open to all candidates from the CAP to the bac + 5. As a result of major works, recruitment prospects are very good, particularly in manual and managerial positions.

At the beginning of any construction operation, there is a contract signed and studies carried out.

This is the domain of the project managers, design engineers and technicians who dimension the works, draw up detailed plans, define the construction methods and calculate the cost of the works.

 Environmental standards are an integral part of the technical studies.

On the building sites, the workers are in the majority. They share the structural work (masonry, formwork, framework, etc.) and the secondary work that is done once the structure is in place (heating, electricity, plumbing, etc.).

Public works also relies on work crews for the construction and maintenance of roads and motorways, the installation of public lighting, etc. At the head of the crews, site managers and work supervisors coordinate the activity. They manage relations with suppliers and ensure compliance with quality and safety regulations.

With 1,076,058 employees (in 2019), the building and public works sector is one of the largest employers in France. The sector is 96% made up of companies with fewer than 10 employees, but also includes SMEs, large companies (such as Eiffage or Vinci) and design offices.

The State and local authoriti s are the main contractor for public works: roads, pipes, public lighting, etc.

 The health crisis of 2020 (Covid 19) led to bankruptcies and a drop in recruitment, but the economic situation remains favourable (Grand Paris construction sites, prospect of the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024, etc.),

Recruitment forecasts are still good, even if there is currently a slight increase in construction and public works.

The needs in the building sector (84% of recruitments) concern the positions of bricklayer, roofer and formworker, where candidates are in short supply. Heating engineers, welders and plumbers are also in great demand.

On the public works side (16% of recruitments), urban road builders, machine operators and electrical and telecommunication network installers are popular profiles.  There is also a need for supervisory positions: team leaders, site managers and site supervisors.

 Finally, with the rise of digital tools and 3D modelling, digital mock-up experts (or BIM managers) will be increasingly sought after.

In addition to motivation and technical skills, employers expect qualities related to “interpersonal skills”: adaptability, responsiveness, initiative, a taste for teamwork, etc.

Jobs, training and diplomas:


Site Manager:

In the field, the site manager monitors the progress and quality of the work on a daily basis.
He ensures that deadlines are met, that safety rules are applied, and submits reports to the works manager.
Based on the directives, plans and sketches transmitted by the latter, the site manager ensures the well-being of the workers (changing rooms, toilets, refectories, etc.), distributes the tasks between the teams (masons, crane operators, site machinery drivers, etc.) and plans the n eds in terms of equipmen and materials.
As the linchpin of the site, he must have a spirit of initiative and take on major responsibilities. After a few years, it is possible to become a senior site manager or works supervisor.

Education and qualifications:

2 years to prepare a BTS (building; public works) or the DUT civil engineering-sustainable construction, possibly completed by a professional licence (1 year).


Work Supervisor:

Responsible for the construction site, the works manager organizes, plans, controls and ensures that deadlines are met. His duties vary according to the size of the company. Generally speaking, he follows the site from A to Z.
After examining the architect’s plans and the design office’s execution plans, he evaluates the necessary personnel and recruits them. He chooses the materials and subcontractors for the construction site. He is in constant contact with his assistant, the site manager, but also with the client, the architect, the accounting department, the suppliers, etc. He is not afraid to lead a team, and he has a strong sense of responsibility and contacts.
He is first and foremost a technician who has a great deal of experience on building sites.


Education and qualifications:

2 years to obtain the BTS in building or public works, the DUT in civil engineering and sustainable construction or a diploma of works manager.
1 year to prepare a professional licence for the building industry (after a baccalaureate + 2 years).
3 years to prepare a diploma of site manager (specialized schools).
5 years for an engineering d gree in construction or p blic works.



The construction draughtsman-projector is involved in a wide variety of projects in the construction industry. He defines the architecture of a structure with the help of plans or 3D images, so that it can be built with precision.
This professional calculates the dimensions according to the documents provided by the architect, draws up the plans and diagrams of the work to be carried out and endeavours to translate the initial idea as faithfully as possible, taking into account the technical data provided by the engineers.
He constitutes a digital model of the building.
This virtual model allows the edit of the detail plan of each room with its different views.
There are also draughtsmen in other industrial sectors (automobile, aeronautics, mechanics, plastics).


Education and qualifications:

2 years to prepare for the BTS in building; public works; metal architecture: design and construction; surveyor and digital modelling professions or the DUT in civil engineering and sustainable construction, possibly supplemented by a professional licence in building and public works (in 1 year).


Construction Economist:

The construction economist must determine the total cost of a construction.
With the help of computer tools, he calculates the quantities of concrete, the surface areas of the frameworks, the number of people to be employed and their cost.
He can assist the client in comparing proposals from subcontractors who have responded to the tender. He supervises the progress of the work to ensure that the budget is respected. Price studies require specialised skills in the

technical and financial fields, as well as knowledge of the legislation in force, which changes over time.
He may be an employee of an architectural firm, a construction company, a local authority or be self-employed

Education and qualifications

5 years of study to prepare a master’s degree or an engineering diploma in energy, civil engineering, construction engineering, urban planning and development, building and public works…


Topographical surveyor:

With his eye riveted to the viewfinder of his tacheometer, the surveyor-topographer measures and delimits the land and the properties of the subsoil. But he is also responsible for estimating the value of a property.
As a designer, he plays the role of project manager and consultant. He works outside on a building site but also in an office on his CAD computer (computer aided design and drawing).
Fast and meticulous in his execution, he has a sense of space. Excellent eyesight is essential. He works in a team and meets many people (architects, owners, elected officials, etc.). He may work for a private company (specializing in highway construction, for example) or for a public institution.
In this case, he is a civil servant employed by a local authority, technical services of a city, etc.
To be a self-employed surveyor, it is necessary to obtain the approval of a commission issuing the title of surveyor. There are several levels of qualification for this profession: the professional bac. To be a technician; the BTS (higher technician) gives access to more responsibilities. The level bac + 5 leads to posts of engineers. The profession of “expert surveyor” requires a suitable master’s degree, a diploma in topographical engineering or proof of a certain number of years of activity.


Construction engineer:

If a building site advances, it is thanks to the BTP (building and public works) engineer. A job title that covers several realities. The preparation of a site is a delicate phase and is entrusted to the methods engineer. No aspect escapes him. Teams, equipment and materials: everything must be planned. Then, the works engineer, assisted by the works manager, ensures the smooth running of the site.
He manages the workers and ensures that the budget and deadlines are respected. Whether it’s a small job or a major construction project, the construction engineer is everywhere. In public works companies, he is responsible for the construction and maintenance of public facilities: high-speed train lines, roads, pipelines, etc.
In the construction industry, he is responsible for the construction of a supermarket or a housing estate.
This profession is practised in construction companies, but also in local authorities (territorial engineer positions accessible through competitive examination). .

Education and qualifications:

5 years to obtain an engineering degree or a master’s degree, with a specialization in civil engineering and construction.



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