The EY Australian Productivity Pulse™

Productivity profiles

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Productivity Pulse: key findings


Productivity Pulse: the wellbeing dividend


Productivity Pulse: animation of latest statistics


Patchy participants cause for concern



Differences by gender


The Pulse profiles Australian workers in four groups, with two categories of workers above the national average of 7.58 on a 10-point scale, and two below. Overall, national productivity increased from the previous Wave (up from a ‘mean’ of 7.25), driven by a particularly significant increase in workers rating their productivity eight or nine out of ten.

The EY Worker Productivity Scale™ identifies the following key characteristics of the four groups below:

Super achievers - 32% of the Australian workforce

Productive ranking of 9 — 10:
Workers in this ‘highly productive’ group are most likely to be satisfied with their jobs and are highly motivated. They believe their skills are well utilised. Personal productivity is extremely important to them. Only 9% of their day is wasted. Sixty-nine percent of this group take only zero to two days sick leave per year.

Solid contributors - 49% of the Australian workforce

Productivity ranking of 7 — 8:
While ‘productive’, this group wastes more time than average on IT issues, social media and sending and replying to emails. They are also almost twice as likely as Super Achievers to spend time doing manually what could have been automated. Sixty-four percent of this group take less than two sick leave days per year.

Patchy participants - 14% of the Australian workforce

Productivity ranking of 5 — 6:
This ‘less than productive’ group is characterised by inertia and is responsible for most of Australia’s workplace wastage. Seventeen percent of this group take 1-2 weeks’ sick leave. Despite containing Australia’s least satisfied or motivated workers, Patchy Participants are also the least likely to be planning to leave their current organisation.

Lost souls - 5% of the Australian workforce

Productivity ranking of 1 — 4:
The ‘unproductive’ group wastes 21% of the working day. This group is the least likely to have flexible working conditions. While 42% have not taken sick leave, 3% of this group have taken an extensive three months or more off due to sick leave. One in four is planning to leave their organisation.

Patchy participants cause for concern

These relatively young and well-educated workers are less satisfied with their jobs and more unmotivated. They feel their skills are not adequately utilised in the workforce. Employers need to focus on demonstrating the value and benefits of personal productivity to this group.

Differences by age

Consistent with findings from Waves 1 and 2, personal productivity increases with age with 40% aged 45-64 in the Super Achievers profile, compared to 19% of those aged 20-24. The importance of productivity also increases with age. Sixty-five percent of 55-64 year olds considered productivity to be extremely important, in contrast to only 32% of 20-24 year olds.

Differences by geography

The Pulse found organisations in metropolitan locations are more likely to measure productivity (48%) than those in the regions (40%). However, regional workers consider personal productivity to be more important than metro workers (54% vs. 43%). Looking across the states and territories:

  • Productivity communication was considered worst in VIC and best in SA.
  • 17% of the QLD workforce reported increasing wastage, in contrast to TAS and WA, where this was only true of 7% of the workforce.
  • Workers in QLD and WA were more motivated by job security than in other states.

Differences by gender

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

* (Wave 2 ranking)

Compared with six months ago, Manufacturing and Mining moved up the rankings, while Professional, Scientific and Technical, Trade and Financial and Insurance Services moved down.

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