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Election 2022: Australian workers’ perceptions of economic security hit their lowest point since 2021

Workers in Australia believe the economy is less secure than a year ago, as perceptions of Australia’s economic security reach new lows. 

With the federal election approaching, the latest ELMO Employee Sentiment Index reveals that only 15 per cent of Australian workers believe the economy is secure, the lowest proportion of workers recorded to date. This is down from 20 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2021 and 30 per cent in the previous comparable period of Q1 2021.

Cost of living pressures also affects Australian workers, with nearly a fifth (19 per cent) reporting that they are not working enough hours to meet their cost of living requirements. This is an increase from 17 per cent in the first quarter of 2021. 

Despite a growing proportion of Australians struggling to make ends meet, Australian workers continue to work the same number of hours per week on average as last year. Workers are also less confident in their jobs than a year ago. 

Half of the workers now consider their job to be secure, compared to 55 per cent in the first quarter of 2021. The current rate is a slight increase from 49 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year. 

ELMO Software CEO Danny Lessem said that the latest ELMO Employee Sentiment Index highlights some considerable challenges facing Australian workers and businesses. 

“The latest ELMO Employee Sentiment Index has uncovered just how Australian workers are feeling about the state of the economy, with some useful insights for our major political parties as they prepare for the federal election.

“Working Australians feel the economy is less secure now than they did a year ago. Workers need to feel the economy is secure if they are going to spend their money instead of saving it away for a rainy day. This poor perceived economic security may be contributing to the burnout rate climbing to 46 per cent of workers from just 34 per cent a year prior. This is a big challenge for employers as burnt-out workers are not productive workers. 

“The findings in the latest Employee Sentiment Index are a reminder that tomorrow’s workplace is very different from today’s workplace. Employers need to adapt to the needs of their workforce if they are going to remain competitive.

“Employers aren’t likely to experience any reprieve from the pressures of the Great Resignation. More than two-fifths of Australian workers (44 per cent) say they plan to search for a new job this year actively.”

External factors

However, global conflicts are contributing to the decline in economic security perceptions. Almost four-fifths of Australian workers (78 per cent) believe that global conflict will have a negative impact on economic security. 

Workers are also concerned about the impact of conflict on their job security, with 44 per cent believing that global conflict will jeopardise their job security. Meanwhile, the proportion of workers who are burnt out has risen quarter on quarter to 46 per cent. This was a significant increase from the first quarter of 2021 when only 34 per cent of workers reported feeling burned out.

A contributing factor to the climbing burnout rates may be the increased work volumes of working Australians and the growing number of workers who feel overwhelmed in their jobs. A third (32 per cent) of workers felt overwhelmed with the amount of work they had to do, while almost a quarter (24 per cent) said they had taken on more responsibility at work.

Great resignation still looming

There is still troubling news for employers hoping that the worst of the ‘Great Resignation’ is behind them, with 44 per cent of Australian workers planning to actively seek a new job this year, up from 43 per cent the previous quarter. 

Employers in Australia should brace themselves for more resignations and career changes, as one-third (34 per cent) of Australian workers believe they will only stay with their current employer for up to 18 months. More than one-quarter (22 per cent) say they will stay for up to a year, and 8 per cent say they will leave within six months.

About the ELMO Index 

The ELMO Employee Sentiment Index is commissioned by ELMO Software and conducted by independent research firm Lonergan Research each quarter among more than 1,000 geographically dispersed working Australians. The poll data is weighted to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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