The Importance of Work-Life Balance Within The Construction Industry
Written By Tyler Jones

A 2021 study found the construction industry in the United States would need 1 million additional workers to handle the expected influx of work through 2023, but companies are still dealing with labor shortages up and down the project pipeline, struggling to fill new jobs or hire people for vacant positions. Let’s look at why there’s a shortage of workers in construction, particularly high school and college graduates entering the workforce.

While most people who enter construction end up having a long and beneficial career, a significant portion of new people in the industry switch careers early on. That can be expected: you don’t truly understand the job until you’re doing it. But why are they leaving? Researchers in Australia found a variety of reasons for people either not considering a job in construction or leaving the industry soon after starting a construction job.

People don’t consider jobs in construction because of these most common factors:

  • The industry not being glamorous
  • Low paying rates
  • The cost of entry, how much time or money someone must spend to get trained
    and working
  • Unsteady nature of the work

The biggest issue, researchers found, was that the job did not support a healthy work-life balance. Between the physical toll of manual labor and the emotional stress of deadlines and schedules, workers either wouldn’t consider a construction job or changed careers within three years of starting a job. Young workers entering the job market want a job that compliments their lives, not dominates it.

Researchers also found that the culture of construction turned off a number of new and existing workers. The specific issue has always been bullying. AEC is still a male-dominated profession, and in many ways is still hostile to people who don’t fit the longstanding stereotype of the tough metalworker or skilled plumber. If a worker doesn’t fit in with a construction team, he or she may feel shunned or bullied.

It is true that in the past decades the U.S. construction industry has made great strides in becoming more inclusive, but we know such behavior still happens on a job site and in the office. Redoubling efforts to ensure such incidents are minimized can improve corporate culture even though you yourself don’t witness such behavior.

While the workers’ attitudes cannot be controlled by the industry, the perception of the industry can be updated to show jobs in AEC are more stable, enjoyable and worthwhile than the expectation many people have. Recruitment efforts, career days, and open houses are some of the various ways people can get to know your company and the industry. Learn more from an expert.

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