2019 Indicators of a Thriving Workplace National Survey Report

The 2019 Indicators of a Thriving Workplace Survey Report was published in November 2019, and captured responses from 10,028 working Australians across a broad range of industries, role types and locations. We’ve now captured insights from over 15,000 workers across the country using the same indicators known to be optimal for worker mental health and business success over the last 2 years.

The Survey’s aim is to measure and track the current state against the desired state of a thriving or mentally healthy workplace, by asking employed people about their experience in their current workplace. Respondents were asked to rate the extent to which each of the 40 scientifically-validated characteristics of mentally healthy workplaces are present in their current workplace.

Australia’s 2019 workplace mental health and wellbeing index score remained unchanged compared to 2018, coming in at 62.7 out of a possible 100. This means we are nearly two thirds of the way towards optimal workplace mental health and wellbeing, but there is still progress to be made.

The 2019 Survey uncovered some of the most interesting and noteworthy data to date, including:

  • Half of Australian workers (50.6%) experienced a mental health condition in 2019
  • 2 in 5 of these workers believe their workplace caused the condition or made it worse
  • More women (55.4%) have experience mental health conditions than men (46.5), but a higher proportion of men believe their workplace caused their mental health condition
  • 1 in 5 workers find their job ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ stressful
  • Workload and deadlines are the top causes of stress nationally, but dealing with customers and clients is more stressful than deadlines in people-facing roles
  • The main barrier preventing employers from doing more to improve workplace mental health and wellbeing is a lack of appropriate skills held by managers, followed by lack of time.

Spotlight on casual workers

Compared to full-time and part-time workers, casual workers have the lowest scores for 39 of the 40 indicators of a thriving workplace. Over the last 12 months, there was a decline in workers being treated with courtesy and respect, with casual workers experiencing this most frequently. The biggest causes of stress for casual workers were customers (16.7%) and workload (15.9%).

The impact of stress

In 2019, only 1 in 2 people (50.2%) who feel stressed most days (or at least once a week) enjoy their job, and they are less hopeful that workplace mental health and wellbeing will improve in the foreseeable future. Higher turnover is the result, with only 30.4% planning to stay with their employer over the next year compared to those who are stressed a few times a year (42.6%) or once a year (51.7%).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ experiences

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are having a much tougher time at work compared with other Australians. Significantly higher proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers are employed in workplaces where they have personally experienced toxic behaviours and attitudes, with nearly 1 in 3 reporting that they have been bullied at work. Unfortunately, the incidence of workplace violence and sexual assault/harassment is nearly double that of non-Indigenous workers, and these workers are also twice as likely (30.2%) to believe that their current workplace caused their mental health condition than non-Indigenous workers (15.7%).

download the survey report