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The EY Australian Productivity Pulse™ - What makes Australians productive? - EY - Australia

The EY Australian Productivity Pulse™

What makes Australians productive?

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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.



Is there a silver bullet for improving organisational productivity?

As Australia languishes in the productivity doldrums, the blame is being cast on everything from the Fair Work Act, to lack of investment in education and training, as well as new technologies.

As Wave 2 of The EY Australian Productivity Pulse™ (the Pulse) reveals, much of the answer is in employers’ hands. A third of Australia’s workforce falls below national productivity average – costing business up to $41.3 billion every year.1

As part of the second six-monthly Pulse, a new EY worker productivity scale identifies Australian workers as belonging to one of four different groups from “highly productive” through to “unproductive”, with each group identifiable through a number of key characteristics.

Super achievers

Twenty-three percent of the Australian workforce who are highly productive have much in common. These are people whose skills are well aligned to their jobs, work in a supportive culture and are valued for their contribution. Money is not their main motivating factor. They rate satisfaction with the work they do and work/life balance as more important than salary or bonuses.

Lost souls

Whereas, the 7% of Australia’s workers who are unproductive feel they don’t have the right skills for their job, aren’t proud to work for their organisation and are worried about redundancy. For this group, the current economic environment is further impacting their productivity.

The more insecure people feel about their employment, the less productive they become.

In contrast, productive workers feel secure in their current jobs and confident they could get another one.

However, it’s important to note that membership of these groups is not static. People may and do switch from being productive to being unproductive throughout their careers.

What can employers do?

While there are some complex intersecting factors behind an individual’s own productivity, many of the barriers to productivity are squarely within the grasp of employers. As the Pulse suggests, the key is to focus on the areas where productivity can be influenced the most.

In other words, if we move or retrain workers so their skills are better aligned to their roles, create high performing and supportive team environments, streamline processes and cut red tape, and continue to work on staff engagement, productivity can and will increase.

There may not be a silver bullet for improving productivity but, as Wave 2 of the Pulse reveals, employers have considerable ammunition at their disposal.



1Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Labour Market Statistics, February 2012 www.abs.gov.au

About The Pulse



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