Work-Life Balance for Construction Manual Workers

Albert Ping Chuen Chan, Yat Hung Chiang, Francis Kwan Wah Wong, Shulan Liang, Funmilayo Adenike Abidoye

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The construction industry is facing an acute labor shortage around the globe, which has caused an escalation in construction costs and project delays. Work-life imbalance is identified as a major detrimental factor in attracting young people to join the industry. Previous research on work-life balance (WLB) has focused on shift workers, females, and managerial and professional individuals. There is still a paucity of literature on WLB for manual workers, in particular, manual workers in the construction industry. This paper aims to investigate how workers perceive their WLB and identify the factors that affect WLB in the construction industry. Based on interviews with the chief executives and senior officers from key trade unions, a questionnaire survey was conducted covering all types of construction manual workers including building, civil engineering, and electrical and mechanical (E&M) workers. A total of 970 valid answers were analyzed through structural equation modeling (SEM). The findings identified workplace support as the most critical area of concern. Additionally, work-life balance was found to have significant effects on the perceived health and safety of workers. The sample size of this study is so far the largest of its kind. This study helps us make informed suggestions for improving work-life balance in the construction industry, and hence its attractiveness to the younger generation to solve the labor aging and shortage problems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04020031
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering and Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020


  • Construction workers
  • Electrical and mechanical workers
  • Health and safety
  • Labor shortage
  • Work-life balance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


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