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Half of Aust workers "deeply worried" about future

03 April, 2014

Half of Australian workers worry about their work, a survey by the Centre for Workplace Leadership at the University of Melbourne has found.

The survey of over 1000 Australian workers, from across industry sectors, reveals that 49 per cent of Australia's workers fret about what the future holds for them at work.

Executive and middle managers are the most fearful compared to non-managerial employees.

The survey also found that it is not until Australian workers reach the age of 55 that they become less anxious about their work. Only 35 per cent of workers aged over 55 worried about their work while over half of workers aged under 55 agonised over their future at work.

"Australians are deeply worried about their future at work," says Centre for Workplace Leadership Director Professor Peter Gahan.

"With technological advances and globalisation the world of work is rapidly changing and it is making Australian workers uneasy."

Despite a concern for the future the survey also revealed 79 per cent of Australians are open to change in their workplace to improve productivity.

Better leadership and new technology were the two key areas that Australian workers identified to increase productivity, with government workers in particular highlighting more effective leadership and management as a change that would most likely increase productivity.

"Aussie workers are willing to change and are open to learning but they are clearly calling out for leadership in the workplace that motivates and inspires them and for greater use of technology that makes it easier to do their job," says Professor Gahan.

The Future of Work is the central focus of the Centre for Workplace Leadership's upcoming conference at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on the 9-10 April. It will feature over 40 leading international and national speakers and a key note address by Guy Kawasaki on the 10 lessons Steve Jobs taught him at Apple.

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Joe | Friday, April 4, 2014, 10:23 AM
And so we should be worried, I run a Recruitment Company and have been for the past 20 years, have never seen the job market like this before, I suspect Australia is now heading into a deep crisis. Nothing has been done to develop new industries or provide training and employment opportunities for the "new generation" the true unemployment figure in this country is around 12% with youth unemployment almost double. Unless you have a Medical Degree now the chances of ling term employment prospects a dim in this country. We have had to take our business offshore now or we would have "gone broke" We can thank all our leaders for this crisis which will get worse as the only career opportunities you will find in Australia will be in Call Centres or working in TAXIS..... Property Prices will take a 30% drop in Melbourne in 2015 as this false economies bubble will burst. When a country relies on one industry (Mining)and one country (China) to sustain it's GDP we have grave problems. Basically Australia is going through "MIDDLE CLASS" Erosion and we will only have two classes of people within the next 20 years - Poor & Rich TOO LATE for Australia we have sold off and privatised too much of the public assets and farms, No future industries as they have all been taken offshore, so if you cant beat them you have to join them..... The once "lucky country" that was built on the sweat and blood of the working class man/woman" is now heading toward third world status, like most of the "Western World" ..Countries like CHINA, INDIA, AFRICA will become the next first world, US, EUROPE and AUSTRALIA will become slaves to these 2025
Bert Stahr | Saturday, April 5, 2014, 12:07 AM
So they should be worried. Australia is a communist country ruled by communist unions. Anyone who is an employer is treated like a criminal. Government and unions control what who how and when. An employer must speak with servility to an emplyee or the emplyee will sue for stress and harrassment and will have it awarded, usually in hundreds of thousands. ALL THE BIG COMPANIES ARE LEAVING AUSTRALIA. Why?? because Australia is communist and communism works only until the other guy runs out of money. For the uneducated, communism is where the government controls everything and takes from those who do and gives to those who don't. The don'ts in Australia are now around 60% and government controls bverything. Well fellow Australians, the other guy just ran out of money. Good luck. By the way, I should feel sorry for the auto workers, it's been reported that the lowest redundancy payment will be +$200,000.00. Lets hear it from the burdenned masses.
Hedley | Monday, April 7, 2014, 11:53 AM
The conference that my Group ran during March discussed these issues and more. What we see happening, before any improvement, is a drop in the exchange rate down into the 70 cents range and a substantial lift in interest rates. For that to happen, it will take a sharp rise in the Asian currencies and I don't see that in the near future. Meanwhile our leaders are running down the TAFE system, have already down graded the "standard" education of our kids,and continue to produce an excess of university-educated people for non-existant jobs. Then our politicians continue to promise the new economy is "there" if only we (us business people) would get out and find it. As if they think that we don't do this as a normal course? I'm thinking that our lot will not improve until the superannuation of our politicians and other public servants gets tied to the rise and fall of the rest of us. Maybe then we can all share in the collective result of the decision-making success or otherwize of our leaders. Fat chance of that. As for the housing "bubble", the real estate people keep denying that it even exists. But knowing that Australia has not had a recession for some twenty odd years, coupled with what we see, other than what the politicians see, 2015 could well be on the money for some serious change in our economy. Run a tight ship everyone. (And that , of course, is the matter of confidence levels in our economy. It just is not there.)
Bill Fell | Tuesday, April 8, 2014, 7:23 AM
In 1999 my partner bought a fold up safari chair for camping. It was made in China and sold here for $12. In Australia the materials would in my estimation (Based on years as an industrial designer)cost in excess of $25 at that time. It was that far back that the truth hit me. If China could produce this item including transport costs and profit for the retailer here in Australia, our future as a manufacturing nation was bleak. If a dwelling in a major Australian city that had as much appeal as a abused substances half way house could be elevated by the real estate industry to be valued as a desirable property and sold for ridicules money (Advantageous for the commission), we were on a slippery slide of greed and ignorance fuelled by singular purpose in self indulgence couched in an economy supported by the mining industry. The high standard of living we enjoy is soon to be tested as thousands are made redundant and the dole will be stretched so far that our economy will suffer and workers will feel the pinch as wages we know now will not be viable. In the seventies when I left a job, there were plenty of options as a skilled tradesman as toolmaking and similar trades were flourishing. Today most of those tool rooms are gone and what training can you give to a redundant line worker in a country that's shutting down and going offshore. No one's listening.
Hedley | Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 8:49 AM
Manufacturing costs in Australia were once very competitive. But that was primarily against the western world as a comparison. We had shared values in working conditions and poluting the environment for example. I first felt the early demise of manufacturing in the seventies when the clean air act came in. Down went the foundries. Off shore with them. I changed jobs OK. A number of other EPA related laws impacted on the industries that I worked in after this. Chemicals; noise; licenced discharge to sewers; monitoring costs; new equipment and council inspections. etc. All good stuff for our health BUT the third world economies operate without these costs. What about work care insurance and 17 1/2 % leave loading, meant for the metal workers, but spread across the total workforce. Look at the public service and council worker salaries and benefits. What about the not-for-profit business models? They pay GST but no income tax. All of these political changes would have been OK except that during the same period government legislation cut the thing that attempted to have a level playing field: Import duties etc. once protected our manufacturing from the lower values of the third world economies. Not any more. Now we have a segregated work force: some with great conditions; some with poor conditions; and a growing youth unemployment. As for the dole, I don't believe that our economy has the money any more. Expect the attack on the minimum wage to continue. Let us hope that wise heads come up with some answers. Joe Hockey faces this in the budget that we are soon to read. Let's all hope that he gets it right.
Bill Fell | Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 1:15 PM
P.S. I was mistaken and sincerely apologise I wrote that safari chairs were $12 I just received a Bunning's flier offering a folding camp chair for $6.45 How's that for research and development, next they will be giving them away. Our manufacturing base is eroding while Bunning's Chinese outlets are flourishing. Doesn't this tell you something. No ones listening.