Gallup report finds Australian employees stressed and disengaged

- November 13, 2018 2 MIN READ

A new report has found Australian workplaces are amongst the worst in the world when it comes to employee engagement and satisfaction, with employees reporting a lack of respect and little opportunity for collaboration.

The Gallup report found only 14 per cent of employees in Australia and New Zealand are engaged in their jobs. An overwhelming 71 per cent are not engaged and as many as 15 per cent are actively disengaged[2]. Those in leadership positions fared even worse with only one in five leaders engaged in the jobs.

The report saw Australia rank seventh out of 11 global regions, trailing behind Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe.

Speaking at the 2018 Australian Rehabilitation Providers Association (ARPA) national conference in Sydney on Tuesday, Dr Marc White, CEO and President of Canada’s Work Wellness and Disability Prevention Institute, said employers needed to step up and take responsibility for the physical and mental wellbeing of all employees.

“In Australia and around the world, our inability to create psychologically safe workplaces means we are effectively stuck in the Dark Ages of employee engagement,” said White.

The workplace wellbeing expert suggested this lack of engagement was having a profound impact on Australians’ mental health.

“People will typically stay out of the workforce for longer than is necessary when they feel they lack supervisory support, have unreasonable physical or psychological demands imposed on them, or have little control over how they perform their jobs,” Dr White said. 

“It should come as no surprise that unhappy, emotionally distressed workers are more likely to get sick and less likely to recover from injury.”

According to the Department of Health, about 4 million Australians deal with some form of chronic or episodic mental health condition and one in five Australians affected by mental illness do not seek help because of the perceived stigma.

Dr White said boosting manager and supervisor training and increasing employee flexibility were the best ways to prevent and manage worker injury, illness and absenteeism – especially for people with mental health conditions. 

“Our research shows when there is a relationship of trust with one’s supervisor, and an employee is given some flexibility over their own work hours and methods, employees with mental disorders can actually thrive,” he said. 

[1] State of the Global Workplace Gallup Report 2017

[2] State of the Global Workplace Gallup Report 2017