The EY Australian Productivity Pulse™

Understanding the concept
and importance of productivity

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Productivity Pulse: key findings


Productivity Pulse: the wellbeing dividend


Productivity Pulse: animation of latest statistics

When asked, most workers could suggest a commonly understood definition of productivity. For most, productivity was defined as producing the same amount of work in less time, for the minority it was about producing more work in the same amount of time.

At a time when businesses are looking to manage the impact of a slowing economy this is not surprising. However, it highlights a relatively elementary understanding of productivity among Australian workers.

Regardless, workers saw productivity as being important because it contributed to their job satisfaction and helped them take pride in their work. Asked for the top three benefits of improving productivity, 65% mentioned ‘a sense of personal achievement’ and 40% mentioned ‘improved quality of the work I do’.

Less than 26% of workers mentioned the following as benefits to increasing productivity including ‘more profits for my organisation’, ‘leaving work early’, ‘increased chance of promotion’ and ‘taking longer breaks’ barely rated a mention.

Flexibility link with productivity

Australia’s most productive workers also have job flexibility – an important factor that leads to other benefits. Almost half (46%) of Super Achievers feel they have a lot of flexibility in their role.

Workers who felt their roles were flexible also:

  • Felt productivity was important at all levels of an organisation
  • Actively tried to increase their own productivity
  • Were more satisfied
  • Were more likely to be working at their lifetime best
  • Felt they could easily do their manager’s job
  • Were less likely to be planning to leave their organisation in the next 12 months.

Flexibility in the workplace continues to be of importance especially in light of increasing evidence that Australians are feeling disempowered and out of control.

Concerns around the global economy, house prices, interest rates, unemployment and natural disasters are all contributing to people feeling they have no control over their destiny. This has led to a strong desire to ‘win back some control’, with workplace conditions offering a natural opportunity to do this.

What's going on in your workplace?


The Pulse continues to find a close correlation between individual productivity and our work based wellbeing ratings. Our data shows that more than one in three Australian workers experience sub optimal wellbeing at work and this is costing Australian employers $12b per annum. This clearly shifts the priority of a holistic approach to wellbeing in the workplace from a nice to have to a clear productivity and bottom line imperative.

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