Construction has happiest workers of any industry

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Rising wages and plentiful jobs have kept employees’ spirits high, but watch for signs of discontent, a new report says.

Dive Brief:

  • The construction industry tops a list of sectors with the happiest workforces, according to a new report from Bamboo HR. The human resources tech company measured the Employee Net Promoter Score at over 1,600 companies, calculating how likely workers were to recommend their organization as a place to work over the last three years.
  • The report attributed construction workers’ happiness to rising wages and numerous job opportunities, but also predicted the labor shortage will put pressure on existing employees in the months ahead. It suggested HR pros focus on recruiting and training less experienced workers. 
  • Recruiters should also keep an eye out for discontent, the report found. From January to May this year, happiness dropped 81% — a sharper drop than the 13% decrease from 2020 through the present, which the report attributed to the pressure from staffing issues.

Dive Insight:

Employee happiness across industries has fluctuated in the last three years, amid challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and rising inflation. Nonetheless, employees’ happiness in construction has remained high for the most part. Still, a commercial jobsite is not always the easiest place to work. Construction work is full of hazards and the industry is known for its high suicide rate and high overdose mortality rate

Construction’s happiness peaked in 2020, Bamboo HR found, as residential projects boomed and material shortages meant contractors had deep backlogs of work, bringing stability to workers. Meanwhile, legislation such as the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan fueled the economy with more than $4 trillion in investments.

High demand for construction work from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act also helped, as did rising pay: hourly construction wages reached a 40-year high last year. 

Happiness has decreased slightly since the 2020 high, and the industry tends to see seasonal patterns of happiness, with lower scores after the fall season and increases as the year ends.