January 18, 2023
Dodge Construction Network

Study reveals that more training on addressing mental health is needed at civil construction companies

Dodge Construction Network’s latest Civil Quarterly study examines how the industry addresses the mental health of its employees

The latest edition of The Civil Quarterly (TCQ) from Dodge Construction Network features new data on how civil construction companies are attempting to address mental health.

The report, produced in partnership with Infotech and Hexagon, is based on a quarterly survey of civil contractors and engineers that examines the business conditions that they face and also includes two unique topics per quarter exploring key trends in this sector. This quarter, the two unique topics are mental health and BIM and digital twins.

The responses about mental health reveal an industry still seeking to fully engage with this issue, with only 34% of contractor respondents reporting that staff at their company have good access to resources that help address mental health issues. Since construction industry workers are recognized by the CDC as at a higher risk of suicide than those in most other industries, this finding demonstrates the need in the industry to offer more support.

When asked about their company’s approach to supporting mental health, 77% of civil contractors indicated some level of effort. However, even the most widely used means of addressing mental health—employee assistance programs and providing information on where workers can access mental health assessment websites—are only reported by about one third of the respondents.

One of the areas that the study reveals needs more attention is training on mental health for leadership at the company and project levels. Twice as many respondents rank training programs on the importance of mental health issues and recognizing the warning signs for suicide among the top most effective means to improve mental health in the industry, compared to the number who state these types of programs are offered at their company. The finding provides a clear suggestion about what the industry believes would add the most value to address this issue.

One other promising finding is that, when asked about the state of mind/state of mental health at their organization currently compared with five years ago, far more civil contractors (36%) report improvements than worsening conditions (15%). This is likely influenced by the high levels of job security currently at most companies in an industry still struggling with skilled worker shortages, but it may also be due in part to heightened attention to the issue of mental health that has occurred since health became a bigger priority for companies during the Covid pandemic.

The Civil Quarterly provides a quarterly snapshot of the current business health of contractors operating in this dynamic environment and explores trends in the industry. The report is the result of a partnership with Founding partner Infotech® and Platinum partner Hexagon. It is based on original research collected from civil contractors and engineers and is available for free download to inform stakeholders in the U.S. civil construction industry. Future editions will continue to address a wide range of related topics providing a comprehensive view of this complex and ever-changing segment of the construction economy. Click here to download a copy.

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