Job fulfilment is a topic of hot debate across the UK. However, one concluding sense can be drawn: very few of us are actually satisfied in our working lives. Nearly one in three of British workers have commented that they are not happy in their current roles and derived little satisfaction from their jobs. However, things are not the same in the construction industry, where things are looking on the up and many workers tend to receive fulfilment from their jobs.

How satisfied are construction workers in their jobs?

Fulfilling jobs

Job fulfilment means quite different things to different people. More that half of those who responded to the question believe it has something to do with satisfaction in the work itself, whereas others derive fulfilment from being able to balance their professional obligations with their home lives. Just over a quarter of respondents agreed that satisfaction was simply their salary at the end of the year or fulfilling their own potential. It is clear that workers have differing opinions regarding what actually constitutes fulfilment, but why is it that so few of us actually see ourselves as fulfilled in our job roles?

Professional fulfilment in Britain
Job fulfilment has always been a key issue in the UK. While so few of us actually feel fulfilled in our jobs, this is not a trend that has just started and nor is it something that stays relatively stable. Our levels of satisfaction have constantly risen and fallen since 2010, with it maxing out in 72% in 2012 before plummeting again in 2013, but one thing that is remained the same is our attitudes towards fulfilment are lagging behind neighbouring European countries. For example, nearly 75% of workers in The Netherlands report professional fulfilment, which is closely followed by Belgium.

Rewarding jobs.

Why fulfilment is often an issue?

Fulfilment is a key issue in productivity. When workers feel unfulfilled in their jobs, they are likely to consider quitting their roles and seeking employment elsewhere. This can cause disastrous effects on an employer's ability to retain high-quality workers, since training and other associated costs of hiring a fresher workforce can easily outweigh those who would have otherwise been retained having already developed the skills needed to succeed with a particular employer. Low fulfilment also has an impact on absenteeism, where unfulfilled workers are more likely to claim on their annual leave more regularly or request more sick days than those workers who are otherwise fulfilled in their roles.

Fulfilment in construction

Fortunately, there is a shining light at the end of the tunnel. Those who are involved in construction are more likely to report fulfilment in their roles and the industry as a whole has a fulfilment rate that is considerably higher than the UK average. This spells quite a bit of good news for those who are considering making the move into construction positions. Even labourers, who are typically thought of as not being particularly fulfilled in their roles, are likely to report favourably (four out of every five respondents likely to report either fulfilment or indifference rather than negativity). 

There are many factors that come into play for this. Salary is an obvious driving force for many of us in terms of fulfilment and construction salaries tend to be quite high, especially for those with skilled trades or site management abilities. The ability to balance working and personal lives is also important to many, too, and many construction personnel work on a more temporary basis according to the number of projects that their employers are handling at any one particular time.

Implications for the future

Recent studies have shown that women are more likely to feel professionally fulfilled than men, but construction is quite obviously a male-dominated field. This means businesses specialising in construction will have to make further considerations in order to keep their fulfilment levels high. It is believed that giving workers higher levels of autonomy will help increase job fulfilment: particularly when working on project work. Employers should set clear tasks, then leave personnel to get on with things. Similarly, having more variety in the day-to-day goings on has been shown to be a psychological boost for morale, so allowing construction workers a bit more freedom in terms of what projects they are working on at any one particular time could help keep fulfilment levels high. It could also be that employers should aim to sponsor employees for new skills and abilities, which can grant them even further levels of flexibility in their daily routine.