Majority of Australians do not like their jobs
Can you imagine a work environment where only 18% of the staff are interested in the jobs they are doing? And yet, according to Gallup this is the prevailing trend in workplaces across Australia.
New data has been released by Gallup since I last wrote on employee engagement. It appears that (see chart below – employee engagement index) more and more Australians are not engaged in the work they do. Only a small minority work with passion. The vast majority of Australian workers (82%) are not engaged with their work.
The cost to the nation and organisations is high. Gallup estimated the total cost to be between $33.5 – 42.1 billion each year. More worrying than the financial costs, is the finding that workplace disengagement is causing stress and leading people to treat their loved ones poorly at home.
Who’s to blame? is the problem a result of recruitment mistakes or failure of HR? What can be done? How can corporate Australia get it so wrong when evidence shows engaged employees meant better customer focus and more sales revenue? In the midst of such waste there are more questions than answers.
More details of the study can be downloaded here (note: The presentation is copyrighted material, and remains the intellectual property of Gallup)
I think that’s one of the saddest statistics I’ve seen. There is nothing like loving your job to make the day seem brighter. I’ve realised over the years too, that in many cases it’s not the job necessarily but the environment that people love. For instance, it would be hard to get overly enthralled about a routine task like stamping “completed” on 5000 pieces of paper a day, but if the people around you are fun and you like them, and it’s a great environment to work, and laughter and friendship are part of the daily environment, the actual task is just one part of the overalll work experience. Sometimes people doing the most mundane tasks are the ones that have the utmost loyalty to a firm that rewards them for their commitment. If ‘blame’ was to be placed at anyone’s feet, it would probably be at those who create the environment that actively prevent people from flourishing. If it’s inflexible, sour, tense, and actively attempts to dissuade friendships and human interactions, then clearly people are going to be dissatisfied in their jobs overall.
This is a staggering number yet one that does not surprise me. In a survey Six Figures undertook late last year, ‘What You Need to Know About Attracting & Retaining High Salary Earners’ http://www.sixfigures.com.au/advertisers/resources a very large 75% of high salary earners would be willing to take a salary cut to do a different job. These figures seem to align with the Gallup poll.
Clearly staff engagement is the problem – so what is the solution. There are many elements that contribute to this. One that I have seen to be an ongoing problem amongst high salary earners in particular is that they want to do a job different to what they have done before, however the recruitment process in many businesses is geared towards hiring someone who has done the same job before. As such to get a job they have to take a job that they are unlikely to enjoy.
In the eyes of the business and the recruiter they perceive the risk of making a bad hire to be diminished through this approach. The reality is contrary to this, yet still this approach to hiring dominates. As a result we have such a large number of people who are not engaged at work.
A new 21st century mindset and approach is required if businesses are serious about talent attraction and retention.
Unfortunately I am surprised that anyone is surprised. Consider the fact that many large companies in Australia are nowadays ‘Global’. Many (if not most?) force Parent company philosophies and the there established practices on local (Australian) subsidiaries. “Things” are usually done differently in the home country. Irrespective, the notion “One shoe fit’s all” is perpetrated, right or wrong, regardless. This in my view might well be at least one contributing factor for frustration and the therewith associated stress and disatisfaction.
Whatever the job tasks required to be performed, reasonably engaged employees do that regardless. The “job” itself is usually not the real issue.