Worry warts: Half of Australian workers worried about their future at work

Almost half of Australian workers worry about what the future will hold, according to research by the Centre for Workplace Leadership at the University of Melbourne.

The study, which surveyed more than 1000 Australian workers from a variety of industries, found 49% of people are worried about their future at work. It also found executives and middle-managers are more anxious in comparison their non-managerial counterparts.

Peter Gahan, director of the Centre for Workplace Leadership, says when it comes to work Australians are clearly worried about the future.

“People are also overstressed and exhausted,” he told SmartCompany. “Some of the worry comes out of how people are going to cope with the changing world of work. It seems fairly clear that uncertainty about the future of jobs is a concern for many people, as is this transformation of work due to new technology and disruptive trends.”

Gahan points to recent upheavals in the manufacturing and service industries as examples of why workers might be worried about their jobs.

However, despite these concerns, the study found 79% of Australians are open to changes in their workplace in order to improve productivity.

Respondents felt better leadership and new technology were the key areas which would boost productivity at work.

Gahan says Australians are open to changes in the workplace if it means they are more likely to retain their job.

“People understand the key response is improving productivity and being innovative, which is going to sustain businesses and jobs as these changes occur,” he says. “People are getting used to the idea that change is a constant part of the landscape.”

The survey also found once workers reach the age of 55 they become less anxious about their jobs. Only 35% of respondents over 55 years said they worried about their work, in comparison to half of those under the age of 55.

Gahan says as workers become older job security becomes less of a concern.

“People worry most about job security, uncertainty and risk during the phase of family formation. It’s not surprising that as workers get older they are less anxious about the uncertainty around their job.”

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