Exploring Worker’s Absence Pattern in the Construction Industry in Iran

Document Type : Article


Department of Civil Engineering, The Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran


The worker’s absence considerably affects the performance of the labor-intensive construction projects. Identifying the worker’s absence pattern assists construction project managers in preparing the proper project organization, reducing the absence rate, and improving the project performance. Despite its critical role, no study has investigated the absence pattern in the construction industry in Iran. This study addresses this gap by identifying the worker’s absence pattern and providing recommendations to reduce the absence rate. First, a comprehensive literature review is conducted on the impacts and influential factors of the worker’s absence. Then, a questionnaire-based survey is designed and distributed among project managers, work supervisors, and human resource experts in different construction companies. The absence rate of seven percent achieved for the construction industry in Iran is among the high rates compared to the rates reported for other countries. The organizational policies, the national holiday season and the size of the working groups are among the main influential factors. Enhancing teamwork spirit, enforcing severe implications for the worker’s absence, and increasing managers’ site visits are among the recommended policies for reducing the absence rate. The identified pattern in this research is applicable for evaluating and improving the performance of construction companies in Iran.


1.        Gundecha, M. M., “Study of factors affecting labour productivity at a building construction project in the USA: web survey”, (September), pp. 1–76 (2012).
2.        Gerges, M., Ahiakwo, O., Aziz, R., Kapogiannis, G., Saidani, M., and Saraireh, D., “Investigating and Ranking Labor Factors Productivity in Egyptian Construction Industry”, Int. J. Archit. Eng. Constr. (2016).
3.        Omar, M. N. and Fayek, A. R., “A Framework for Identifying, Monitoring, and Controlling Construction Workforce Absenteeism Using the Absenteeism Tracking Tool”, Int. J. Archit. Eng. Constr., 1(4), pp. 231–242 (2012).
4.        Gopal, T. G. S. R. and Murali, K., “Secondary Data Analysis on Factors Affecting Labour Productivity in Construction”, Int. J. Sci. Res. Publ. (2016).
5.        Agrawal, A. and Halder, S., “Identifying factors affecting construction labour productivity in India and measures to improve productivity”, Asian J. Civ. Eng., 21(4), pp. 569–579 (2020).
6.        Doyle, C. and Cicchetti, D., “From the Cradle to the Grave: The Effect of Adverse Caregiving Environments on Attachment and Relationships Throughout the Lifespan”, Clin. Psychol. Sci. Pract. (2017).
7.        TBR, Absenteeism and Turnover (1982).
8.        Ferguson, T. D., Ferguson, W. L., Muedder, K., and Fitzgerald, M. P., “The Case for Total Absence Management and Integrated Benefits.”, Hum. Resour. Plan., 24(3), pp. 36–46 (2001).
9.        Hanna, A. S., Menches, C. L., Sullivan, K. T., and Sargent, J. R., “Factors affecting absenteeism in electrical construction”, J. Constr. Eng. Manag., 131(11), pp. 1212–1218 (2005).
10.      Nicholson, S., Pauly, M. V., Polsky, D., Sharda, C., Szrek, H., and Berger, M. L., “Measuring the effects of work loss on productivity with team production”, Health Econ., 15(2), pp. 111–123 (2006).
11.      Sichani, M. S., Lee, S. H., and Fayek, A. R., “Understanding construction workforce absenteeism in industrial construction”, Can. J. Civ. Eng., 38(8), pp. 849–858 (2011).
12.      Strömberg, C., Aboagye, E., Hagberg, J., Bergström, G., and Lohela-Karlsson, M., “Estimating the Effect and Economic Impact of Absenteeism, Presenteeism, and Work Environment–Related Problems on Reductions in Productivity from a Managerial Perspective”, Value Heal., 20(8), pp. 1058–1064 (2017).
13.      Leaker, D., “Sickness absence from work in the UK”, Econ. Labour Mark. Rev., 2(11), pp. 18–22 (2008).
14.      Grinza, E. and Rycx, F., “The Impact of Sickness Absenteeism on Firm Productivity: New Evidence from Belgian Matched Employer–Employee Panel Data”, Ind. Relat. (Berkeley)., (51) (2020).
15.      ProjectIran, Meet the Promise of the Rising Iranian Market (2017).
16.      Rafieizonooz, M., Salim, M. R., Khankhaje, E., Warid Hussin, M., Zarebidaki, A., and Salmiati, “Determining the Causes of Delay by Using Factor Analysis in Tehran’s Construction Projects”, Appl. Mech. Mater., 735, pp. 109–116 (2015).
17.      Samarghandi, H., Tabatabaei, S. M. M., Taabayan, P., Hashemi, A. M., and Willoughby, K., “Studying the reasons for delay and cost overrun in construction projects: The case of Iran”, J. Constr. Dev. Ctries., 21(1), pp. 51–84 (2016).
18.      Derakhshanalavijeh, R. and Teixeira, J. M. C., “Cost overrun in construction projects in developing countries, Gas-Oil industry of Iran as a case study”, J. Civ. Eng. Manag., 23(1), pp. 125–136 (2017).
19.      Alvanchi, A., Farmani, N., and Haji Yakhchali, S., “E‌V‌A‌L‌U‌A‌T‌I‌N‌G F‌A‌C‌T‌O‌R‌S C‌A‌U‌S‌I‌N‌G D‌E‌L‌A‌Y I‌N R‌E‌S‌I‌D‌E‌N‌T‌I‌A‌L B‌U‌I‌L‌D‌I‌N‌G P‌R‌O‌J‌E‌C‌T‌S O‌F M‌A‌S‌H‌H‌A‌D”, Sharif J. Civ. Eng., 35.2(3.2), pp. 3–13 (2019).
20.      Khanzadi, M., Kaveh, A., Alipour, M., and Mohammadi, R. K., “Assessment of labor productivity in construction projects using system dynamic approach”, Sci. Iran., 24(6), pp. 2684–2695 (2017).
21.      Moradi, S., Nasirzadeh, F., and Golkhoo, F., “Modeling labor productivity in construction projects using hybrid SD-DES approach”, Sci. Iran., 24(6), pp. 2752–2761 (2017).
22.      Golchin Rad, K. and Kim, S. Y., “Factors Affecting Construction Labor Productivity: Iran Case Study”, Iran. J. Sci. Technol. - Trans. Civ. Eng., 42(2), pp. 165–180 (2018).
23.      Langenhoff, W., “Employee Absenteeism : Construction of a Model for International Comparison of Influential Determinants”, p. 79 (2011).
24.      Lusinyan, L. and Bonato, L., “Work absence in Europe”, IMF Staff Pap., 54(3), pp. 475–538 (2007).
25.      U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Absences from Work of Employed Full-Time Wage and Salary Workers by Occupation and Industry (2020).
26.      Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey Estimates ( LFS ), Work Absence Statistics of Full-Time Employees by Sex and Establishment Size Annual (2018).
27.      CIPD, Absence Management - Annual Survey Report 2016 (2016).
28.      Srour, F. J., Srour, I., and Lattouf, M. G., “A survey of absenteeism on construction sites”, Int. J. Manpow., 38(4), pp. 533–547 (2017).
29.      Biron, M. and Bamberger, P., “Aversive Workplace Conditions and Absenteeism: Taking Referent Group Norms and Supervisor Support Into Account”, J. Appl. Psychol., 97(4), pp. 901–912 (2012).
30.      Bhosale, C. D. and Biswas, A. ., “Absenteeism in Construction Industry : Causes , Correlation and Remedies”, Int. J. Adv. Eng. Res. Technol., 3(6), pp. 215–218 (2015).
31.      Loganathan, S. and Kalidindi, S. K., “Absenteeism and Turnover of Migrant Construction Workers in Indian Projects—A Survey-Based Study”, Proc. Constr. Res. Congr. 2016, pp. 2039–2049 (2016).
32.      Rowlinson, S., Shen, Y., and Koh, T. Y., “Alcohol Consumption Patterns Of Construction Workers In Hong Kong”, 6th World Constr. Symp., pp. 27–32 (2017).
33.      NCICC, “NCICC History”, http://abadgar.org/.
34.      Hinze, J., Ugwu, M., and Hubbard, L., “Absenteeism in construction industry”, J. Manag. Eng., 1(4), pp. 188–200 (1985).
35.      Cochran, W. G., Sampling Techniques, 3rd Edn., New York: John Wiley & Sons (1977).
36.      Santos, J. R. A., “Cronbach’s alpha: A tool for assessing the reliability of scales”, J. Ext., 37(2), pp. 88–92 (1999).
37.      Gliem, J. A. and Gliem, R. ., “Calculating, Interpreting, and Reporting Cronbach’s Alpha Reliability Coefficient for Likert-Type Scales”, 2003 Midwest Res. to Pract. Conf. Adult, Contin. Community Educ. Calc., pp. 82–88 (2003).
38.      Tavakol, M. and Dennick, R., “Making sense of Cronbach’s alpha”, Int. J. Med. Educ., 2, pp. 53–55 (2011).
39.      Bohannon, R. W. and Smith, M. B., “Interrater reliability of a modified Ashworth scale of muscle spasticity”, Phys. Ther., 67(2), pp. 206–207 (1987).
40.      Rust, R. and Grayson, K., “RELIABILITY ASSESSMENT RELIABILITY ASSESSMENT Interrater Reliability”, 10, pp. 71–73 (2001).
41.      Grayson, K., “Interrater reliability”, J. Consum. Psychol., 10(1), pp. 71–73 (2001).
42.      Jette, D. U., Stilphen, M., Ranganathan, V. K., Passek, S., Frost, F. S., and Jette, A. M., “Interrater reliability of AM-PAC ‘6-Clicks’ basic mobility and daily activity short forms”, Phys. Ther., 95(5), pp. 758–766 (2015).
43.      Osorio-Sandoval, A. C., Corona-suárez, G. A., Osorio-sandoval, C. A., Zaragoza-grifé, J. N., Corona-, G. A., and González-fajardo, J. A., “Discrete Event Simulation Analysis of the Effect of Labor Absenteeism on the Duration of Construction Activities in Housing Projects”, Int. J. Eng. Res. Appl., 6(December), pp. 46–55 (2016).
44.      de Vroome, E. M., Uegaki, K., van der Ploeg, C.P. Treutlein, D. B., Steenbeek, R., de Weerd, M., and van den Bossche, S. N., “Burden of sickness absence due to chronic disease in the Dutch workforce from 2007 to 2011.”, J. Occup. Rehabil., 25(4), pp. 675–684 (2015).
45.      Lattouf, M. G., Srour, F. J., and Srour, I. M., “Construction Workforce Management Strategies to Reduce Absenteeism: A Survey Study”, Constr. Res. Congr. 2014 Constr. a Glob. Netw., pp. 827–836 (2014).
46.      Lohaus, D. and Habermann, W., “Presenteeism: A review and research directions”, Hum. Resour. Manag. Rev., 29(1), pp. 43–58 (2019).
47.      Zhang, W., Sun, H., Woodcock, S., and Anis, A. H., “Valuing productivity loss due to absenteeism: firm-level evidence from a Canadian linked employer-employee survey”, Health Econ. Rev., 7(1) (2017).
48.      de Best, R., “Sickness absence rate in the Netherlands 2008-2018”, Statista (2020).
49.      Downey, K., “UK sickness absence rate reaches all-time low”, IoshMagazine (2018).
50.      Drago, R. and Wooden, M., “The determinants of labor absence: Economic factors and workgroup norms across countries”, Ind. Labor Relations Rev., 45(4), pp. 764–778 (1992).
51.      Cucchiella, F., Gastaldi, M., and Ranieri, L., “Managing Absenteeism in the Workplace: The Case of an Italian Multiutility Company”, Procedia - Soc. Behav. Sci., 150, pp. 1157–1166 (2014).
52.      North, F., Syme, S. L., Feeney, A., Head, J., Shipley, M. J., and Marmot, M. G., “Explaining socioeconomic differences in sickness absence: The Whitehall II study”, Br. Med. J., 306(6874), pp. 361–366 (1993).
53.      Niedhammer, I., Goldberg, M., Leclerc, A., Bugel, I., and David, S., “Psychosocial factors at work and subsequent depressive symptoms in the Gazel cohort”, Scand. J. Work. Environ. Heal., 24(3), pp. 197–205 (1998).
54.      Kerner, I., Rakovac, M., and Lazinica, B., “Leisure-time physical activity and absenteeism”, Arh. Hig. Rada Toksikol., 68(3), pp. 159–170 (2017).
55.      Kim, J. and Philips, P., “Remuneration and absenteeism on a large construction site”, Constr. Manag. Econ., 32(10), pp. 983–999 (2014).
56.      Rhodes, S. and Steers, R., “A systematic approach to diagnosing employee absenteeism”, Empl. Relations, 3(2), pp. 17–22 (1981).
57.      Ahn, S., Lee, S., and Steel, R. P., “Effects of workers’ social learning: Focusing on absence behavior”, J. Constr. Eng. Manag., 139(8), pp. 1015–1025 (2013).