The Cost of Doing Nothing Report demonstrates that urgent change is needed to address cultural issues within the construction industry that are costing the economy close to $8 billion annually due to workplace injuries, mental illness, suicide, long work hours and a lack of diversity.

The report outlines the estimated economic cost of lost wellbeing from work-related fatalities, injuries and illnesses in 2018 was $6.1 billion; the productivity cost of employees consistently working overtime was $708 million; the cost of mental ill-health was $643 million and the cost of higher incidence of male construction worker suicides compared to other industries was $533 million. The report also highlighted that since 2006, construction has had had the lowest female representation of any industry in Australia.

Other key findings in the report:

  • People working in construction are twice as likely to commit suicide than the national average.
  • Nearly a quarter of people working in construction work more than 50 hours per week (23%).
  • Long and inflexible work hours are a substantial contributing factor to work-family conflict and cause an imbalance between work and non-work life.
  • Construction is the most male-dominated industry in the country, with women making up only 12% of the industry workforce, leading to issues of not being able to attract and retain talented women in the midst of a labour shortage which has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and international border closures.
  • Low female representation is costing the industry as benefits of increasing female representation include decreasing aggressive behaviour and bullying, improved attention to detail and improved communication.

The Cost of Doing Nothing Report was written by BIS Oxford Economics.

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