For many professionals who work in offices and at desks, the prospect of toiling on a construction site in the cold does not seem like fun. People drive past maintenance crews on the highway at night and take pity. But new research suggests that working construction is not as bad as many think – in fact, the truth is just the opposite. Construction workers are among the happiest employees in the U.S.
This information could be important to driving more young, talented individuals toward careers in construction. Already, construction employment gained in most states over the past year. Now, the trick is to attract skilled labor and not just entry level positions. The construction industry's momentum, combined with the promise of a rewarding profession, should be enough to bring the industry back to prominence.
Construction employees are the happiest workers
In the 2015 Best Industry Ranking report from TINYpulse, 30,000 employees across 12 different industries were surveyed regarding their level of satisfaction with their current job. The results showed that construction and facilities workers are the happiest employees, beating out consumer products and technology workers, according to Fast Company.
The report revealed three primary obstacles standing in the way of an employee and a satisfactory working environment: non-supportive management, a lack of opportunity for success, and an inability to advance. Some 49 percent of those surveyed cited poor relationships with management as a main component of their overall dissatisfaction. For construction firms, this is relevant data – managers should take care to promote a positive work culture and take care of their staff through safety equipment and protocols. Additionally, the happiest workers generally ranked their colleagues upwards of an eight out of 10.
"[Construction] is an industry that has many walks of life with people working in an office to people out on site," Jay Walter, general manager of JWH Group, said in the report. "One thing that unites everybody at the end of the day is kicking back for a little bit with a few beers and talking stuff out – the good and the bad. If people have an issue, they will come see a manager during office hours, but sometimes the best environment is when people can relax a bit[.]"
Industry trends toward growth
Perhaps related to construction workers' job satisfaction is the fact that the industry has grown steadily since the recession, explained Fast Company. The industry hit a recession-low of 4.9 percent of U.S. gross domestic product in 2010, but climbed up to 5.8 percent of GDP by 2013. It stands to reason that an industry experiencing growth will also produce positive workers.
Between December 2013 and December 2014, 40 states plus Washington D.C. added construction jobs, according to Associated General Contractors of America. Employment increased from November to December 2014 in 38 states plus D.C.
"Part of the reason for the positive December construction employment figures was the exceptionally harsh weather in much of December 2013 and November 2014 and milder than normal weather in December 2014," said Ken Simonson, AGC's chief economist. "Nevertheless, the underlying trend is very positive, with construction employment expanding at more than double the rate for total nonfarm payroll jobs."
Additionally, the Construction Hiring and Business Outlook indicated that 80 percent of contractors create new construction jobs in 2015. This job growth could also help boost individual salaries and attract a higher number of qualified, talented workers to the field.
As more potential employees learn of the industry's consistent growth and reputation for worker satisfaction, construction's employment outlook is looking good.