The Happiest Careers in America – Where’s Homebuilding?

Forbes published an article today titled “The Happiest Careers In America.” The article highlights the results of a new survey from job site that revealed the top ten happiest professions in America. The survey results measured nine factors of workplace happiness, including the individual’s relationship with their boss and co-workers, their work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks and job control over the work that they do on a daily basis.

Homebuilding was not one of the ten happiest careers. As I read the article and viewed the slideshow of the “10 -Happiest Jobs in America”, I realized that they had obviously made a mistake. Why do I say that? Let me explain.

I teach the National Association of Home Builders “Business Management for Building Professionals” course. One of the slides from that course contains a picture of 14 different hard hats – each one representing a different role or job within a small volume building company. The building professionals in the class are asked “How Many Hats Do You Wear?”

According to the Census Bureau, as of 2007, there were almost 2.6 million nonemployer residential construction and specialty trade contracting firms, including foundation, framing, siding, masonry contractors, stucco, electrical, plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, drywall, painting, flooring, and landscaping contractors. So, naturally, the typical small volume builder wears many hats and fills many roles in his company. As I viewed the slideshow of the “10 -Happiest Jobs in America”, I realized that a career in home building typically encompasses 7 of the 10 careers listed as the happiest.

No. 2 – Customer Service. Customer service professionals enjoy working directly with customers, helping people, managing conflict, and problem solving.

No. 3 – Education. Home builders are educators. We educate our customers about the building process and we educate our trade contractors on how we prefer our homes to be built

No. 4 – Administrative – Clerical.  These professionals simply feel good about their daily tasks. They keep things running smoothly.

No. 5 – Purchasing – Procurement.  These professionals are responsible for purchasing the materials and goods for their companies. Their satisfaction stems from relying on their superior negotiating skills to secure the best deals possible.

No. 6 – Accounting.  The professionals hold the purse strings and ensure that their companies are run efficiently, that records are kept accurately, and that taxes are paid properly and on time.

No. 7 – Finance.  These professional handle transactions and provide guidance to make sound investment decisions.

No. 8 – Non-Profit Employees.  According to the National Association of Home Builders latest “Cost of Doing Business Study,” the average small-volume builder in 2008 had a net loss $53,000 or 1.4%. Non-profit employees derive satisfaction from doing good. Abraham Lincoln said that “The strength of our nation lies in the homes of its people.” Seeing a family move into a new home you built just feels good.

The only careers not encompassed by home building were No. 1 – Biotechnology, No. 9 – Health Care, and No. 10 – Legal. So, if you’re chosen career in home building, you’ve chosen one of the happiest careers in America. Don’t you agree? I do.


President / Builder – Chuck Miller Construction Inc.

(208) 229-2553

Posted in: builder profit, building, home building

Leave a Comment (1) ↓

1 Comment

  1. Boise Idaho August 19, 2011

    Where is marketing in the list?