Transforming Education Pedagogies to Include Life-Work Balance in Engineering Conference

Rivera, EJ, Elzomor, M, Pradhananga, P. (2023). Transforming Education Pedagogies to Include Life-Work Balance in Engineering .

cited authors

  • Rivera, EJ; Elzomor, M; Pradhananga, P


  • The Construction industry is a dynamic, demanding, and challenging workplace for the recent engineering graduates entering the workforce. The construction industry is evolving as globalization continues to generate transformation in the industries. Therefore, education institutions must evaluate and implement the changes in the curriculum that provide the industry with a skilled workforce. Work-life Balance (WLB) has become a challenge to the industry as the next generation understands that having WLB is a priority in their career. This study focuses on understanding the work-life balance's influence on the Millennium generation entering the workforce. A survey was provided to 161 university students in the construction industry, and the results provided from the survey were analyzed. This study aims to provide academic institutions recommendations for the shift in priorities that the workforce must adapt to in the recruitment and retention of the construction industry. In recent years, the STEM professions have lost talent to other industries because the generations currently entering the workforce misconstrue the work-life balance (WLB) expectations pertaining to engineering, architecture, and construction industries. Construction careers can be highly stressful, with pressures such as achieving tight program deadlines, meeting the needs of multiple stakeholders, dealing with disputes, and enforcing the safety of all individuals on site. To this end, there is a growing need for pedagogical tools to prepare our workforce to succeed in the construction industry. The study aims to address the student's disconnect of perception/expectations of professional career challenges by educating them about work-life balance while working as Construction Engineers or Managers in the construction industry. To achieve these goals, the study utilizes a three-step methodology: a) conducting industry professionals' interviews, b) conducting surveys of construction management students predominantly in a minority-serving institution to determine how significant work-life balance is when working for an organization, and c) recommending different curricula changes to better prepare recent graduates to thrive and adapt when entering the engineering and construction industry. The study results indicated that inadequate work-life balance could result in project delays, higher project costs, and a devastating effect on the employees' mental and physical health due to demanding schedules. The study's findings contribute to the architecture and construction engineering body of knowledge by promoting work-life balance awareness among millennials and providing a pedagogical solution to foster retention and satisfaction within such industries.

publication date

  • June 25, 2023