Australian employees' financial wellness drops to all-time low

Employees calling on leaders to show genuine care, respect, and concern'

Australian employees' financial wellness drops to all-time low

Australian employees' financial wellness declined to an all-time low of 24.4%, as employers are warned of the situation's potential impact to their organisations.

Gartner's Global Talent Monitor survey data, collected between January and March 2023, discovered that financial wellness dropped from the previous 28% for the second consecutive quarter.

"With rising inflation showing no signs of slowing, many Australians are facing serious financial hardship, which is not only incredibly distressing personally, but significantly impacts their work life too," said Aaron McEwan, Vice President in the Gartner HR practice, in a statement.

"As wages remain stagnant and few bonuses on offer, organisations risk losing employees as they prioritise household budget needs."

This is supported by Gartner's latest data, which revealed that active job search behaviour went up by two per cent in the same period, despite business confidence falling and perceptions on job availability staying the same.

What are employees looking for?

Amid financial hardships, compensation emerged as the third-highest driver of attraction for Australian employees. This is a place higher than last quarter, according to the report. The full list includes:

  1. Work-life balance
  2. Location
  3. Compensation
  4. Respect
  5. Vacation
  6. Stability
  7. Manager quality
  8. Future career opportunity
  9. Coworker quality
  10. Ethics

In the same survey, Gartner also found that manager quality is still the strongest driver of attrition for Australian employees. The whole list includes:

  1. Manager quality
  2. People management
  3. Work-life balance
  4. Respect
  5. Compensation
  6. Future career opportunity
  7. Recognition
  8. Co-worker quality
  9. Location
  10. Ethics

"Work-life balance remains a driving force when employees are deciding whether to stay in their current role or move on," McEwan said.

In Australia, employers and employees are currently in a heated battle regarding return-to-office policies. In one example, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia's office return mandate was challenged in a dispute by the Finance Sector Union for reportedly lacking consultation.

"Employers pushing workers into the office should provide a clear rationale and consider funding social gatherings as an unnecessary commute just adds further financial stress to those finding it tough," McEwan said.

Great leadership

The findings also unveiled how strong leadership can make an impact on employees' career decisions.

"Employees have faced a considerable amount of personal and financial turbulence in the past six months and they're calling on their leaders to show genuine care, respect, and concern," McEwan said. "Organisations can help alleviate this stress by extending employee programmes that support them, such as financial planning services that offer access to financial advice, or the option to stay at home to save on commuting costs."

A Robert Half study in March found that nearly nine in 10 employers across Australia have implemented measures to support staff amid financial hardships, including extending remote work options, providing mental wellbeing support, granting permanent staff pay rise, among others.

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