You won't find the happiest workers in the world toiling away at desks or crunching numbers — chances are, they're working outside.
Construction workers have the highest levels of self-reported happiness of any major industry category, according to a new analysis by BambooHR.
The HR software platform analyzed data from more than 57,000 employees at over 1,600 companies across the globe between January 2020 and June 2023.
While employee happiness overall has fluctuated over the past three years, construction workers' happiness scores have remained consistently high, largely thanks to rising wages and plentiful job opportunities, the report notes.
Workers in tech, finance, nonprofit and travel and hospitality also scored high on employee happiness.
Hourly wages for construction workers soared to a 40-year high in 2022, the Associated General Contractors of America, one of the largest construction trade associations in the U.S., reports.
According to Payscale, the median hourly wage for a construction worker is $17.70 — but wages can be as high as $28.83.
What's more, the Covid-19 pandemic spurred new demand for home building and residential renovations. Spending on construction in the U.S. has consistently increased since 2020, topping $1.9 billion in July 2023, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Limited inventory and a robust federal infrastructure plan injecting $550 billion in construction projects all point toward even greater demand for construction workers down the road.
There's an interpersonal element of the job driving construction workers' contentment too, Jenn Lim, CEO of the organizational consultancy Delivering Happiness, tells CNBC Make It.
The construction business, she points out, is widely recognized for promoting strong bonds among on-site personnel. Construction workers, she adds, also have access to a wide swath of professional organizations that help them with skills training and apprenticeships to advance in their careers.
One of the longest-running studies on happiness, the Harvard Study of Adult Development, discovered that employees are happier in jobs that require human interaction and provide opportunities to build meaningful relationships with coworkers.
"When you're building something, you get to see the fruits of your labor, and the positive impact your work has on others, in real-time," Lim explains. "There's something tangible and exciting that comes from the hard work you put in day after day."
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