Workers face bonus drought but remain positive

Workers concentrating on post-it notes. | Newsreel
Most Australian workers experience daily stress but remain optimistic, | Photo: nortonrsx (IStock)

Australian workers have low expectations of receiving bonuses compared with their Asia Pacific colleagues and most are grappling with regular stress in their employment.

A major study of Australian workers found that only one in four are expecting bonuses in the next 12 months compared with 45 percent across the Asia Pacific.

It also revealed that Queensland workers are the most stressed in the country with more than 60 percent admitting their work suffers because of this.

The survey of 1400 workers by the ADP Research Institute as part of it s People at Work series also found many employers had embraced long-term flexible working and nearly a third of young people were considering starting their own businesses.

The survey report said that 54 percent of employees were experiencing stress at work at least two to three times per week.

“Queenslanders say they experience daily stress more than all other states and territories,” the report said.

“What’s more, 57 believe their work suffers due to feelings of stress at work. Workers cite this the most in NSW, Tasmania and Queensland (all above 60%).”

Despite this, 80 percent of workers say they are optimistic about the next five years in the workplace.

“However, the Australian work environment is experiencing a multidimensional shift, and workers’ needs and expectations are evolving with a continuing expectation of flexibility and improved compensation,” the study report said.

“One in two workers say their work suffers due to feelings of stress at work. And job insecurity is a concern for a quarter of all workers, with younger workers expressing the highest levels of concern.”

The report said 59 percent of workers were expecting a pay rise in the next 12 months and 26 percent expected a promotion.

Underpayment remained a concern for many employees with more than a third believing they had been paid incorrectly at some time.

The survey showed signs that baked-in flexibility had emerged in many workplaces post-pandemic. However, the results were mixed.

“While some employers have fully embraced a flexible working culture, others have insisted on a permanent return to the office,” the report said.

“Demand for options to relocate overseas and a four-day work week are gathering momentum as rising trends.”

“Employment is also more fluid for Gen Z workers with 33 percent expressing they have considered changing industries in the past 12 months and 29 percent contemplating starting their own business.”

ADP Australian Manager Director Kylie Baullo said flexible working was contributing to the overall career optimism but other factors were also important.

“Continuing to reward achievements, addressing mental health concerns, upskilling training programs, and promoting open communication are all essential elements for creating a supportive workplace culture and in turn, creating employee optimism,” she said.

“Innovation can also play a key role. By leveraging solutions that automate tasks, such as payroll administration, managers can devote more time to supporting and collaborating with their teams.”

The Australian results, released this week, are part of the ADP Research Institute® survey of 32,612 workers in 17 countries around the world between October 28 and November 18, 2022.