How is construction workplace culture changing?
Does the thought of a construction site recall a bunch of blokes eating pies and talking crude rubbish while sweating it out during hard labour? If so, fair enough. It’s the image that’s long been portrayed in the Australian construction industry, and for good reasons. When it comes to workplace culture progression, construction has been one of the slower moving industries.
As a male dominated industry construction sites are notorious for being a rough and tumble place to work, where workers are expected to ‘suck it up and get it done’. But over the past two decades the industry has seen some phenomenal changes in the culture, and there is more on the horizon.
Focus on safety
The days of precarious safety are slowly dying out, at least in the big firms and commercial construction sites, as more and more emphasis is placed on
regulating safety standards across the industry. The safety culture has been a slow one to change as traditional attitudes towards safety processes for ‘weak men’ are slowly being replaced by a new generation of workers who place a higher value on health and wellbeing. This shift is being seen most prominently in some of the world’s leading firms who recognise that safe construction environments create a more efficient and satisfied workforce, which in turn increases retention and performance.
Still think of men in hardhats when you think of construction? Well think again. While it’s still a heavily male dominated industry there has been a huge rise in female talent entering the industry. As societal attitudes to gender roles continue to evolve, more and more women are entering the workforce. Not only are there more women entering the workforce across a range of roles, attitudes, and cultural safety toward women in the workplace are improving.
Deconstructing stigma around mental health
As attitudes toward mental health change within our society, the general attitude toward mental health on construction sites is slowly shifting. While there is no doubt that males in general have a harder time speaking about mental health, major cultural shifts are beginning to take place to include mental health in construction safety. More and more construction firms and unions are placing greater attention on reducing high-pressure environments and providing more support services and access to leave for mental health.
Want to be part of the changing culture in construction?