A new survey has found that whilst Australian workers are some of the most highly motivated in the world, close to a fifth of their time at work is wasted at a cost of $109 billion to businesses, in wages alone.
The Ernst & Young Australian Productivity Pulse found that just 58 percent of an average work day is spent on work that directly adds ‘real value’ versus time seen as wasted due to wrong job fit, inefficient systems and processes, and red tape. A further 24 percent is spent on core activities such as networking and professional development.
These were just some of the key findings of the survey of 2,500 employees from businesses across seven sectors.
According to Ernst & Young Advisory Leader Neil Plumridge, the findings don’t mean Australian employees are “slackers” however.
“Australia is one of the hardest working countries in the world and given an overwhelming 71 percent of workers are motivated to do their job to the best of their ability, we simply can’t put the productivity issue down to personal motivation.”
People management is the solution, Plumridge said, not cost-reduction as many might assume.
“It is easy to jump to the conclusion that productivity can be fixed by downsizing or cutting costs. However, this is a short-sighted view of productivity…”
To better their employee’s productivity at work, managers and employers need to address factors such as skills not matching jobs, people’s capabilities being under utilised, a lack of clear vision from leadership and no direction for career progression.
“Organisations need to think in terms of making bolder, more revolutionary changes that move them into a higher zone of productivity … And rather than cut jobs, organisations should be looking to eliminate wasteful work and redeploy those resources to growth and investment areas,” he said.
Other key findings in the Productivity Pulse include:
- Workers aged 45 and above have the highest motivation with 74 percent motivated to do their job to the best of their ability, versus 66 percent of younger workers (under 45).
- Workers in Western Australia wasted the least amount of time on an average day followed by South Australia, Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania, then New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
- The most efficient industry as rated by its workers is financial and insurance services and the least ‘wasteful’ industries are professional, scientific and technical services (17 percent) and health care and social assistance.