The hardest workers are down south: report finds

by Stephanie Zillman28 May 2012

A new workplace survey has revealed Australian employees waste a whopping 23% of the average work day on issues such as tech problems, waiting for approval from a higher authority, and reading and responding to emails.

The survey by Ernst & Young drew together a picture of productivity on the average working day based on responses from more than 2,500 workers from seven different industries. Just two-thirds of the country’s workforce was considered “productive” while more than 3.5 million workers fell below the average at a cost of more than $40bn. The group of respondents with the lowest level of productivity spent just 50% of their time on meaningful work, Neil Plumridge from Ernst & Young said. “Lost productivity impacts the bottom line of both Australian organisations and the broader economy,” Plumridge added.

However, it seems workers in one state are bucking the unproductive trend – Tasmania is home to the nation’s most productive workers. The southern state stood out as having the most productive workers, while South Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory had the highest ratio of bludgers.

A key finding from the report was that employees who felt their jobs were under threat tended to be less productive. “Workers that feel insecure about their roles or are unsatisfied with their workplace have fallen further down the productivity scale as a result of the current slowdown,” Plumridge commented. Notably, social media use accounted for just 4% of wasted time.

Despite many Australians now working more than eight hours each day, the report showed productivity had not grown over the past decade.


  • by Not Impressed 28/05/2012 2:45:09 PM

    Its hardly fair to call workers "bludgers" when the reasons they're unproductive include 'tech problems, waiting for approval from a higher authority, and reading and responding to emails'. Plus who says that reading and responding to emails is not productive work? Is answering internal and external customers questions via email less productive than via phone or face to face? I would assume it is MORE productive, as I can send the email when I'm ready, whether that be 11pm or 7:30am, and not have to wait until an appropriate time to phone or until the scheduled meeting time.

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