Hard working but least productive down under

Australians are the hardest working people in the world. And the least productive. See this article from the Sydney Morning Herald (17 October 2011) on why this is so.

 

A hard day’s work a great waste, say Australians

Mark Hawthorne
October 17, 2011 – 3:00AM

AUSTRALIAN employees are among the hardest-working in the developed world, notching an average 44-hour week, but rank among the least productive, with $109 billion of ”wasted” wages each year.

One in three employees plan to quit in the next year, more than half say poor management has most impact on their productivity, and 18 per cent of the average working day is spent on ”work that wasted time and effort”. These are among findings of a study of almost 2500 Australian workers and their bosses by the accounting firm Ernst & Young.

”What we found is a highly motivated Australian workforce,” the survey team leader and Ernst & Young partner Neil Plumridge said.

”We are not a nation of slackers. We work harder than other developed countries in terms of labour hours and we are highly motivated to work,” he said.

”More than 70 per cent of us come to work every day with the best of intentions, which is something to be proud of. The problem is the productivity of our workforce.

”The hours are good and the intentions are good, but we found an incredible amount of wastage once we all get to work.”

The total wages bill for Australian workers is estimated to be $606 billion a year. ”Given that 18 per cent of our time at work is wasteful, ineffective and not valued, that’s $109 billion waste in annual wages,” Mr Plumridge said.

”Even if we can get a 10 per cent improvement, that’s worth more than $10 billion a year to the national economy.”

The inaugural Australian Productivity Pulse survey found management issues (54 per cent), organisation structure (23 per cent), lack of innovation (15 per cent) and outdated technology (8 per cent) are cited by employees as the drains on productivity. Mr Plumridge said productivity had been on a 10-year decline. That view is supported by Graham Bradley, departing chief of the Business Council of Australia.

Mr Bradley said last week the nation had endured decades of ”mediocre growth and declining opportunity” due to a productivity slump. In a Sydney speech, he called on employers and workers to ”strike adult agreements with each other to embrace technology, improve productivity and share the benefits”.

Despite the backdrop of falling productivity, Australians are generally happy at work, with 68 per cent saying they were ”proud to work for their employer” and 68 per cent believing their work was valued.

The Ernst & Young survey also found that older workers are more motivated to perform – and are less interested in pay – than their younger counterparts. Salary tops the list for workers up to 35.

In contrast, less than 10 per cent of workers 45 and over cite pay as their key motivator for working. ”One of our key findings is that older workers are much more motivated by the satisfaction of simply doing a good job,” Mr Plumridge said.

The report found 32 per cent of workers plan to leave their employer in the next 12 months, including 44 per cent in retail.

with Clancy Yeates

This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/business/a-hard-days-work-a-great-waste-say-australians-20111016-1lrl3.html

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