Construction professionals are among the most fulfilled workers in the UK, according to specialist recruiter Randstad CPE.
A poll of 2,000 workers from a wide range of different industries found that those working in the IT sector and sectors such as human resources, legal and marketing have the highest levels of professional fulfilment among UK workers (73% each), while construction follows closely at 66%. Those working in telecoms and administration were the least fulfilled (40% and 47% respectively).
In addition, 13% of UK’s workers said they were unfulfilled compared to just 12% working in construction.
Owen Goodhead, managing director of Randstad CPE, said: “Improving levels of fulfilment further represents a massive opportunity for the sector. With higher professional fulfilment comes lower absenteeism and lower staff turnover.”
Randstad’s research also demonstrated that professional fulfilment is at its highest among those at the start or end of their career. More than two thirds (67%) of 18 to 24 year olds feel fulfilled in their professional lives, as do two thirds (66%) of those aged above 55. Fulfilment then diminishes during the middle of people’s careers – the lowest proportion of those who feel fulfilled at work was among those aged 35 to 44 (57%).
Goodhead continued: “There are huge rewards in terms of fulfilment from keeping on older construction professionals, quite apart from the advantages of continuity and expertise. But we also need to make sure we get plenty of young blood into the profession. At the moment, that’s not happening. There’s been a 20% growth in the construction workforce since the early 1990s, but that expansion has been uneven across different age groups.
“A major concern is the lack of young entrants into an ageing workforce, with numbers of workers aged 60 and over in the industry having doubled in recent years, while the number of those aged 24 and under has fallen by 27%. While the increasing age profile is most pronounced in the manual workforce, professional trades such as architecture, mechanical and civil engineering could also lose 20% of their manpower to retirement in the next 10 years, so the need for new, younger blood is pressing. If the sector continues to rely disproportionately on the middle-aged, there will be consequences. Our research shows a mid-career crisis is a very real phenomenon.”
The research also reveals that women are more likely to be professionally fulfilled than men (17% versus 16%).
Goodhead added: “I don’t think it’s unfair to say construction is not renowned for its gender diversity – approximately 88% of construction project managers and related professionals are men. Our research suggests the gender imbalance may be holding the sector back and dragging professional fulfilment down – despite the fact the sector’s still more satisfied than average.
“To attract more women, the industry needs to offer flexible employment and provide working conditions that suit women. Out goes a culture of long hours, presenteeism and machismo – in comes more part-time employment and a greater attention to work-life balance.”