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Pittsburgh ranked in the top five for happiest workers, according to poll

By David Mechler

Point Park News Service

After being told a national online poll ranked Pittsburgh as having some of the happiest workers in America, Ed Wageley said it was well-deserved.

“I think one of the biggest reasons workers love working here is the down to earth feel with a hard working town,” said Wageley, owner of River City Inn.

Charlene Kudzma, a 10-year worker at Weldins on Wood St., echoed Wageley’s feelings.

“The customers are always so nice to me and since Pittsburgh is a big city it still has that small town atmosphere,” said Kudzma.

The online poll, Career Bliss, named Pittsburgh as one of the top five cities for happy workers after examining several key factors in determining a city’s happiness including the relationship with your boss, co-workers, growth opportunities and work environment among the responses from 36,000 employees from Nov. 2011 to 2012. One factor that holds power in this region is the staying force of Pittsburghers.

It mirrored the 2011 Pittsburgh Quality of Life Survey, which found “nearly 56 percent of people surveyed said the overall description of where they live as either excellent or very good.”

And Pittsburgh is seeing a growing trend in the younger generation.

Leah Christy, a psychology major at Duquesne University who works as a concessionaire at the school’s Palumbo Center, is happy that job prospects are growing for the younger crowd for the first time in a generation.

“I love my job because we are a thriving city, especially in medicine, and hospitals. But most importantly Pittsburgh is a city that lets a person grow as an individual because of all the opportunity here, “said Christy.

One factor that was not considered in this poll was the sports culture in the city. Successful sports teams like the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates also help employees love where they work because when a sports team does well, they are more productive at work.

Wageley is encouraged in seeing younger demographics watching sporting events in his bar as well as how happy his employees are.

“Steeler Sundays are probably my biggest sporting event other than St. Patrick’s Day,” Wageley said. “The customers are more engaging to the employees when they win and vice versa. Cost of living is relatively decent Downtown as well and I feel more people will love their job because of it. It doesn’t hurt that we are in the heart of Pittsburgh.”

It’s not the first time Pittsburgh has been in the national spotlight. In 2010, Forbes Magazine ranked Pittsburgh the most livable city in America.  In 2012, the American Institute for Economic Research ranked Pittsburgh the fifth best place to live for college students among mid-size regions.

Kudzma, who is going into her 11th year working at Weldins, welcomes the opportunity to help customers.

“It’s my job. I love it,” she said with a smile.

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