Young workers feel pressure over downsizing

Job cuts are taking a toll on the morale of workers – but more so among younger staff

Young workers feel pressure over downsizing

Older employees in Australia appear to be coping better than their younger colleagues in an economy battered by the COVID-19 crisis.

Age and length of tenure, among other factors, are said to play a significant role in the way workers cope with disruptions of the pandemic, data from career site Indeed suggest.

Australians between 50 and 65 are least likely to feel a negative impact from the COVID-19 economic crisis: 72% remain motivated to do their job and only a quarter worry about possible staff cuts.

It’s a different story for younger workers, however, who are reportedly “feeling the most pressure”. Two in five workers between 18 and 29 (37%) admit to feeling demotivated at work since the crisis.

In total, about half of Australians under 40 are afraid of possible retrenchment in the months ahead.

Read more: Four signs your workplace doesn’t take mental health seriously

Younger workers are also more likely to have witnessed staff cuts affecting people they personally knew: 64% of the 18-29 age group had personal contacts who were laid off in the crisis, compared with only 43% of the 50-65 age group who witnessed the same ordeal.

“Knowing someone who has lost their job is shown to have a marked impact on a person’s psyche,” analysts from Indeed said.

“Those who personally know someone who has lost their job are considerably more likely to feel increased stress or anxiety levels (60%), to feel more isolated working from home (67%), and to be more concerned about job security (51%),” they said.

Of those who have seen personal contacts lose their job in the pandemic, about half (49%) purportedly feel pressured to “overdeliver” to stay employed. A similar percentage (45%) also struggle with concentrating at work as a result of the job cuts.

Read more: Are you 'working from home' or 'living at work'?

Length of tenure is reportedly another factor that helps buffer the psychological toll of the crisis:

  • 71% of those working for 5+ years say their ability to deliver work remains unchanged
  • Only 33% of those working for 5+ year are worried about losing their job
  • 67% of those working for less than 5 years are concerned about future layoffs

Ethical employers
However, most Australians believe their employers have generally fared well in terms of supporting their employees’ emotional health during the crisis:

  • 65% feel their boss values the emotional well-being of staff
  • 59% feel their boss makes every effort to support their emotional wellbeing

“Australian employers have cause to be proud about their navigation of COVID-19. It was really encouraging to see that the majority of Australian workers feel their employer has done everything they could to avoid layoffs and has taken their emotional well-being seriously,” said Jay Munro, Indeed’s head of career insights.

“The fact that employees are confident their employers have acted ethically and in staff’s best interests will put businesses in good stead to rebuild and recover,” Munro said.

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