Wellness in Infrastructure survey results released

The latest results from the Infrastructure Industry wellbeing survey from Wellness in Infrastructure reveal that burnout, anxiety, depression and stress are rampant within the infrastructure construction industry.

The results reveal that workers in the infrastructure industry remain at some of the highest risk in society for burnout, declining mental health, stress and dissatisfaction with work life balance, despite several minor improvements on the results of the last survey conducted in 2018.

Professor Luke Downey from Swinburne University crunched the data from 1411 survey responses to identify how the industry is tracking in 2024.

The survey revealed the following about the health and wellbeing of the infrastructure construction industry workforce:

  • Rates of burnout remain higher than for other industries (28%), with one in three infrastructure industry professionals (35%) meeting the criteria for being burnt-out. This figure had dropped by 11% on the 2018 results. Additionally:
  • One in two workers aged 25-29 meets the criteria for burnout (51%)
  • 39% of site-based workers and hybrid site /office workers meet the criteria for burnout.
  • The industry’s younger workers, aged 20-24 years, have disproportionately high numbers of people with extremely severe anxiety (12%)
  • Almost one in every two employees aged 25 to 34 is struggling to achieve satisfactory work life balance
  • 73% of women working in the infrastructure industry are experiencing moderate-high levels of stress (67% for males)
  • Average levels of depression, anxiety and stress exceeded population norms by 60% for depression, 70% for anxiety and 50% for stress.

The results showed one in three employees across all age groups are dissatisfied with their work life balance, a decline from the 2018 results in which 59% of respondents expressed dissatisfaction. While an improvement, the latest results remain 85% higher than for other Australian workers.

Workplace injuries, mental illness, suicide, long work hours and a lack of diversity costs the Australian construction industry around $8 billion annually.

Professor Downey said “it’s concerning to see more than half of young employees in the infrastructure industry are meeting the criteria for being burnt-out. Worryingly, it is this age bracket that is also over-represented in the industry suicide figures”.

“Direct intervention is required to significantly shift the dial for this industry towards normal levels of stress, and satisfaction with work life balance. We know that interventions like the WII Mentoring Program have a significant positive impact on our most at risk cohort, those aged under 40 years of age”.

Prof. The Hon. Jill Hennessy, Wellness in Infrastructure’s new Chair said she was saddened but not surprised by the results.

“I hope these results send some shock waves through the industry and Government, and companies take it as a call to action to get on board with Wellness in Infrastructure’s mission to dramatically improve mental health and support for our infrastructure workforce”.

“I am pleased to be working with this organisation and their mission to achieve world-class mental health and wellness within the infrastructure construction industry”.

Grant Fuller, Board Member for Wellness in Infrastructure said “We at Wellness in Infrastructure believe that with targeted and validated interventions like our Mentoring Program and the Integrated Approach to Wellness, we can improve the lives and wellbeing of infrastructure workers. We can reduce the time lost to mental ill-health, and the personal, professional and societal impact of mental ill-health upon individuals and their workmates, friends, and family”.

“This is what sets Wellness in Infrastructure apart, our work is for industry and by industry and as a not-for-profit organisation, any profits are directed into effective, research backed interventions”.

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