Tags: Construction & Property, blog, construction-and-property

The topic of mental health has become a common talking point in recent years with various initiatives working to dismantle taboos and promote healthy conversations and behaviours. Now, at a point in our history where an invisible threat to our physical health has impacted life in so many ways, it is vital that we maintain a steady focus on mental wellbeing as well.

Search undertook research into a range of sectors to gain an insight into employees’ mental wellbeing and the ways in which work played a role, if at all.

In this report, we present our results from surveying those working within Construction. Respondents covered a range of roles with many being labourers, project managers, cleaners, and machine operators

Employment status

Despite many sites shutting down during lockdown, 63% reported that they had worked continuously over the last 6 months with only 8% having been furloughed.

19% told us they were unemployed and 10% had recently been made redundant, representing close to a third of the construction workforce.

Happiness at work

Respondents were then asked to rate their happiness with their current working life or employment status and with the level of support shown to them by their employers in regard to the mental health and wellbeing. Scores were provided on a sliding scale of 10 with 10 being most happy.

The results pointed to a sector rooted in moderate levels of happiness. On current working life/employment status, the average score was 4.8/10 and on quality of support shown by employers, the average was 4.2/10.

The quality of support offered by employers was also explored at a more granular level with respondents being asked whether they agreed they are/were supported by their employer in relation to their mental health.

The results show that most (42%) were neutral on the issue with 25% feeling supported and 33% disagreeing with the statement.

Mental health

The survey then moved to mental health specifically with 58% of respondents reporting that they had experienced poor mental health in the last 6 months. This represents a lower number than other sectors despite construction experiencing a higher unemployment rate. The extent to which admitting to mental health problems remains largely taboo in male-dominated environments should therefore be considered as a factor for this incongruous result.

Work/job status played a factor amongst those reporting poor mental health with 25% of respondents identifying it as a significant role.

When presented with a range of triggers for poor mental health, respondents identified stress, financial concerns, and Covid-19 as the top 3. Social media, workplace bullying, and health problems ranked the lowest.

Looking to the future

Search’s survey into construction workers and the quality of their mental health revealed a sector that is experiencing some difficulties. Despite a majority being in regular work, a similar majority also reported that they’d experienced poor mental wellbeing.

However, the results also show a sector that has restrained views on their working life and the extent to which they feel supported by their employers.

This restrained view is reflected in their outlook for the future with an average score of 5.3/10 produced for how positive they feel about the future in relation to work and employment.

Survey Results

Are you working at the moment?

Yes – continuously over last 6 months – 63%

Yes – furloughed – 8%

No – Unemployed – 19%

No – recently made redundant – 10%

Job title

Labourers, project managers, cleaners, and machine operators

Please rate how happy you are either with your current working life or your employment status on a scale from one to ten, one being extremely unhappy and ten being extremely satisfied at work.

Average – 4.8/10

If you are in employment, how happy are you with the level of support shown by your employer in regard to the mental health and wellbeing of their employees? On a scale one to ten, one being extremely unhappy and ten being extremely satisfied.

Average – 4.2/10

Have you experienced poor mental health in the past 6 months?

Yes – 58%

No – 42%

If you have experienced poor mental health, to what degree has work or your job status been a factor?

A great deal – 15%

A lot – 13% - 28%

A moderate amount – 25%

A little – 25%

None at all – 23% - 48%

Please choose the top three triggers you feel affects your mental health and well-being the most.

Top 3 – Stress (46%), financial concerns (54%), Covid-19 (46%)

Bottom 3 – Social media (6%), workplace bullying (8%), health problems (10%)

Do you agree you are/were supported by your employer when it comes to your mental health?

Strongly agree/agree – 25%

Neutral – 42%

Strongly disagree/agree – 33%

On a scale of one to ten, how positive are you about the future in relation to work and employment?

Average – 5.3/10