The Construction Industry is the Happiest (and how to get some of that)

It was Confucius who wisely said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”  Recent studies acknowledge that as a profession general contractors fall into the essence of the quote—to the point they are living in a Pharrell Williams song, always singing:

Because I’m happy!

Okay, where did you get this stuff?

The research is based on TINYpulse’s 2015 Best Industry Ranking report. It surveyed more than 30,000 employees across 500 organizations, amid 12 different industries—concluding that the happiest were “construction and facility service workers.”

Behind chirpy general contractors in the bliss scale were those in these industries:

2. Consumer products
3. Technology and software
4. Telecom and energy utilities
5. Healthcare
6. Manufacturing

The question would be then: Why are general contractors happier than the other professions? It’s understandable why putting together iPhones in China isn’t exactly Prozac Nation, but building houses in Chicago at the apex of a Midwest winter doesn’t seem like the path to nirvana. One might think this secret is only found with Emmet in The Lego Movie, life an eternal Taco Tuesday. Yet there are answers that don’t require the understanding of Confucius.

Okay, why are they so happy?

An article in Fast Company adroitly deciphers the reason for happiness for general contractors and those in the construction business. An obvious reason has to do with economics:

It’s important to note that the construction industry—both residential and commercial—is bouncing back from a recession low of $716.9 billion, or 4.9% of GDP, in 2010. Three years later, it was up to $925.4 billion, or 5.8% of GDP. Likewise, 70% of what the U.S. produces is for personal consumption, making for a strong consumer product sector.

Having a steady job with rising pay always helps the mood, with or without Taco Tuesday. However, other industries are presently doing well, and many in the workforce would agree that salary is just not enough to make every Monday into a Fat Tuesday. The TINYpulse study does reveal other aspects of the construction industry that make its enjoyable:

–  Supportive management.
–  Abundant tools to succeed.
–  Opportunity for professional growth.

Do these sound unfamiliar in your industry? They might because recent reports show that 52.3% of Americans are unhappy at work. On the other hand, the construction industry has been renewed by a sense of purpose and embracing a positive philosophical attitude, similar to the tech boom decades ago.

The Fast Company article gives further reasons:

In the construction industry, a variety of organizations offer coaching and career mentorship to students. Once they’re ready for the workforce, the industry has a long history of providing new workers with apprenticeships so they can learn the skills required to move on to tackle more challenging work.

Finally, add to the construction industry an atmosphere of comradery, and you’ve got some happy campers building concrete camps across an economically-recovering nation.

Okay, why should anyone be happy at work?

As with the tech industry and its mystic joy in Silicon Valley, other industries should take heed at general contractors and the construction industry in general. Maybe not everyone can have a beer with satisfied coworkers in a lot after long day of building, but stronger communication in transparent settings could make a world of difference. In a 2014 study from the University of Warwick on worker productivity, Professor Andrew Oswald commented:

“Companies like Google have invested more in employee support and employee satisfaction has risen as a result. For Google, it rose by 37%, they know what they are talking about. Under scientifically controlled conditions, making workers happier really pays off.”

Are we happy here at qSample? Let me put it this way: in sales there is a saying that goes “always be closing.” At qSample the sales team motto is:

Always be connecting.

That is not only the key to success, we feel, but also the key to happiness. Humans are social animals, always seeking connection and intimacy, and this ought to be highly stressed in the workforce.

Money may not buy happiness, but happiness sure can make money for companies. Just ask general contractors, beyond Emmet.

And then everything might be awesome.


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