A report compiled by global professional services specialist Towers Watson shows that Australians are significantly more pessimistic about their financial fortunes than developed recessionary countries.


The latest Global Workforce Study (GWS) found that 56 per cent of Australian employees are worried about their future financial state, compared to the UK and France who reported 46 per cent.


But its hardly a surprise, says Lesley Brown from Towers Watson, with our preoccupation for listening to endless pessimistic reports in the media significantly contributing to our overall dour perspective on employment.


“On reflection, it’s not surprising that Australian employees are in a pessimistic state as there have been lay-offs occurring across a range of industries over the past few years as well as a strong focus on the weak global economy in our current affairs,” Ms Brown said.


Alarmingly, the report found that 72 per cent of employees were not fully engaged with their work, despite 51 per cent of employees recording an upward trend in the number of hours they work.


The report also found that job security is now the most important factor in considering new roles, ahead of traditional leading elements such as advancement and development opportunities.


Employee’s overall trust in their leadership has also taken a battering, with only 42 per cent of respondents saying they have trust and confidence in the job done by senior management, with only 45 per cent of employees trusting information received by their immediate management.


“The findings suggest that, in the current climate, employees are finding it particularly difficult to sustain the kind of positive connection to their companies that yields consistent productivity,” Ms Brown said.


“When they are not fully engaged, it leads to greater performance risk for employers. It makes companies more vulnerable to lower productivity, higher inefficiency, weaker customer service and greater rates of absenteeism and turnover.”


Key Australian statistics and findings from the Global Workforce Study 



Financial security

  • 56% often worry about their future financial state


  • 28% of employees are sustainably engaged

Top drivers of sustainable engagement

  1. Stress balance and workload
  2. Image
  3. Leadership
  4. Goals and objectives
  5. Pay


  • 53% employees think their stress levels at work are manageable
  • 23% selected stress as one of the top five reasons for leaving their current organisation


  • 58% prefer large base pay and small bonus over smaller base and large bonus opportunity (17%)
  • 49% larger base pay and fewer career advancement opportunities over smaller base pay increases over greater future career advancement (23%)

Work life balance

  • 42% would prefer greater opportunity for flexible work-life arrangements with less paid time off over less flexibility and more paid time off (27%)
  • 39% feel their organisation makes it possible for them to have a healthy balance between work and personal life

Changing work environment

Australians worked within an organisation that:

  • 26% outsourced jobs
  • 22% downsized
  • 27% grown/expanded
  • 28% restructured
  • 51% agree they have been working more hours than normal over the past three years
  • 47% agree they will be expected to work more hours than normal over the next three years