Relationships between cycles of economic expansion in construction and craft workers’ job satisfaction and preferences

Mohammed Albattah, Yongwei Shan, Paul M. Goodrum, Timothy R.B. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


When construction craft workers consider potential career alternatives, overall job satisfaction is a fundamental factor that influences their retention and productivity. This paper analyzes changes in job satisfaction and job preferences of craft workers in the US construction industry across successive economic recession–expansion cycles. The analysis used data from the General Social Survey (GSS) collected from 1974 to 2014 and compared job satisfaction and preferences of construction craft workers with those in other industries. The authors found that job preferences of the sampled construction respondents changed with each successive recession–expansion cycle and that the desire for high income became more prevalent than that for a sense of accomplishment in physical work, which has traditionally been the top job preference among construction workers in general. Overall job satisfaction among sampled construction respondents was equal to or slightly exceeded the overall job satisfaction of sampled respondents in other industries. Industry craft recruitment efforts can use these insights to design future recruitment and retention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Civil Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Construction management
  • Construction trades
  • Construction workers
  • Job preference
  • Job satisfaction
  • Recession–expansion cycles
  • Trends

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • General Environmental Science


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