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The EY Australian Productivity Pulse™ - Productivity profiles - EY - Australia

The EY Australian Productivity Pulse™

Productivity profiles

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About The Pulse

The Pulse measures Australian workers’ sentiments about their own and their organisation’s productivity and the value of the work they do. It gauges the collective voice of almost 2,500 workers across key industries and from all levels in both the private and public sectors.

Six months ago, Wave 1 of the survey found that organisations wasted 18% of their day on work that didn’t add value – costing the economy an estimated $109 billion. In Wave 2, we examine why that wastage occurs and what could be done about it.



In a job market where senior unemployed workers are struggling to find work, employers should be aware that the older a worker becomes, the more motivated they are to contribute and the higher their productivity.

The results of the latest survey profiles Australian workers in four groups from "highly productive" to "unproductive", with two categories of workers above the national average of 7.16 on a 10-point scale and two below.

The EY worker productivity scale identifies the following key characteristics of the four groups below.

Super achievers - 23% of the Australian workforce

Productive ranking of 9 — 10:
The “highly productive” group spends at least two-thirds of their time on meaningful work and wastes just 12% of their day compared to the national average of 16%. A third of this group takes no sick days at all in any given year.

Solid contributors - 46% of the Australian workforce

Productivity ranking of 7 — 8:
The “productive” group spends at least 64% of their time on meaningful work and wastes 15.7% of their day. Half of this group takes one to three weeks sick leave per year.

Patchy participants - 24% of the Australian workforce

Productivity ranking of 5 — 6:
The “less than productive” group spends 58.4% of their time on meaningful work and wastes 19.6% of their day. A third of this group takes between three weeks to three months sick leave per year.

Lost souls - 7% of the Australian workforce

Productivity ranking of 1 — 4:
The “unproductive” group spends only 50% of their time on meaningful work and wastes 27.4% of their day. This group is more likely to take extended periods of sick leave, and one fifth of this group takes between three months to a year of sick leave.

Workers on either end could be profiled through a number of key characteristics:

Productive workers were more likely to:

  • Be female
  • Be contract workers or people with extensive tenure 6+ years in current role
  • Work for a small organisation of less than 20 people or alternatively have responsibility for 500+ people
  • Be CEOs and/or Managing Directors
  • Work with a high performing team
  • Be proud to work for their employer
  • Feel their work is valued and their leaders have focus
  • Have clear expectations and career goals
  • Feel their skills are developing and have access to opportunities
  • Work in a supportive team culture
  • Show greater levels of motivation aged 65+

Unproductive workers were more likely to:

  • Be male
  • Have low confidence in leadership
  • Believe their organisation does not encourage team work, transparency and does not operate efficiently
  • Believe leadership does not understand productivity as a concept or how to measure it
  • Be unsatisfied, lack motivation at work and feel their skills are not utilised
  • Be unhappy at work, have a lack of direction and believe there are poor opportunities
  • Have poor work relationships
  • Have poor work/life balance

Most productive industries

The most productive industries, based on their workers’ average ranking on the EY worker productivity scale were in order from most productive to least productive:

  1. Healthcare and Social Assistance
  2. Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
  3. All other industries (including Transportation)
  4. Trade (Retail and Wholesale)
  5. Manufacturing
  6. Financial and Insurance Services
  7. Mining (Resources)

Manufacturing, Financial and Insurance Services were slightly under the national productivity average with Mining well below average.



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