State of the Australian workplace, progress audit

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While Australia may have bypassed the worst of the global financial crisis, business is still coming to terms with the organisational changes that were made to adapt to the shifting economy.

A survey of almost 3,000 business leaders, managers, and non-managerial employees from Lead Management Australasia found that 63 per cent are feeling more pressure now than they did three years ago.

Andrew Henderson, CEO of LMA, said economic uncertainty and performance pressures are causing job unrest at the top, with more leaders actively looking and applying for new jobs.

“It’s unsettling that there are more people who are charged with guiding their organisations through these tight times looking for greener pastures,” Henderson said.

The top pressures for employees are added or changed responsibilities, the balance between their work and personal lives, and higher performance expectations.

The work/life balance also ranks as one of the biggest pressures for leaders, as well as being continuously in demand, and an increase in their personal workload. Meanwhile, the quality of staff in their organisation is a great source of pressure for managers.

The survey also looked at life for women in the workplace, finding men are more inclined to believe there’s equality in the workplace compared to women. Just 39 per cent of female leaders believe it has become easier for women to reach senior management positions, compared to 70 per cent of men.

When it comes to the pay gap, 48 per cent of male leaders believe men are paid better, while 49 per cent believe both men and women are paid equally. On the other hand, 71 per cent of female leaders believe men are paid better, with 27 per cent stating that payment is equal.

Across leaders, managers, and employees, there are more men believing that they respect women in the workplace to a great extent than there are women who recognise this. Women in the workplace are more inclined to believe that men respect women to a moderate extent.

Surprisingly, just 34 per cent of all respondents across all three levels of employment believe women respect other women in the workplace to a great extent. Around 50 per cent of both men and women across the three groups believe women only respect each other to a moderate extent.

“The lower level of respect appearing to be shown by women towards women is worthy of further exploration and discussion as this perception may be limiting the extent to which gender issues are taken seriously in the working world,” Henderson said.