How Construction Employment Can Create Social Value and Assist Recovery from COVID-19

02 June 2021

COVID-19 has created or amplified economic and social crises internationally. Australia entered its first recession in 30 years and saw a significant rise in unemployment. In response, Australian governments have increased their commitments to infrastructure construction to stimulate the national economy and combined this with new social procurement policies that aim to create social value for targeted populations like Indigenous peoples and unemployed youth. However, emerging social procurement research in construction shows a disconnect between policymakers and the practitioners who must implement them. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to provide theoretical and practical insights on creating social value in the context of construction employment created by new social procurement policies. Reporting a survey of 107 construction workers in Australia, it is shown that social procurement policies and construction employers can create social value when they provide work benefits like adequate pay and training and development and cultural benefits like inclusive workplaces. Recommendations are made to demonstrate how the results presented in this article can be used by contractors to create social value. This research is significant for advising how increased infrastructure spending commitments in Australia can create social and economic outcomes for workers, ensuring a sustainable recovery from COVID-19 crises.