Because I’m happy? Construction and the government index of career happiness.

Blog Picture1A government report showing which careers make people happy offers mixed reading for the sector, with highs like skilled metal, electrical and electronic trades coming in at 10th to lows such as construction labour coming 246 out of the 247 trades listed. Even where we are paying people well in roles such as quantity surveying, the happiness index places the profession in an astonishing 241st place. Electrical and civil engineers seem to be doing ok in at 14th and 55th respectively; but Architects follow a drop placed in at 97 in the chart. In fact, if we break the chart into thirds we find that we have 24% of construction careers in the top third, 40% in the second and 37% in the bottom third. Considering the government is looking to use these stats to help people make informed choices regarding their careers on more than just salary: I’d say the industry has a lot of work to do if we want to attract key candidates.

The sector needs to recognise that the best advert for the industry is the 2.8million people that work within it. No matter how much money we spent on advertising it will always come back to the experiences of people that we know that have the biggest impact on our career decisions, and unfortunately this report is telling us that people in the sector could be happier, which might mean that they are less likely to promote the industry as a good career choice. Not the best advert for the sector. As an industry we need a longer term view that focuses on bringing the sector together to overcome what really is an industry wide problem. We all lose in the scramble for talent as people move around chasing higher salaries including incurring retraining costs and carrying additional burdens due to lack of other competent colleagues.

We advise companies to build more into their offer packages than just wages, because any business can offer money but, as this report shows, few in the built environment sector can offer a workplace where you can actually feel happy.

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