Two thirds of Australians (66%) value happiness at work over money, showing that we’re a nation which prioritises doing something meaningful, rather than having huge salaries.
In fact, Australians place great importance in having meaning in their work with 81% saying it would boost their overall happiness levels. They also admit that they would be happier at work if they felt valued (72%), were making an impact (70%), and they had a good workplace culture (64%).
Despite nine in ten employed Australians – over 10.5 million people – wanting to do meaningful work, it is not always that easy to achieve. Many people admit that they’re unsure of what career they want, and this lack of direction may mean they’re stuck in the wrong job, with two in five (44%) stating that the pressure of not knowing what career they want is a major reason why they stay in their jobs.
Other reasons why people often feel they have to stay in their current jobs rather than finding meaningful work, includes feeling a responsibility to live up to family expectations (39%), having a longer commute (41%), or financial worries like paying off monthly living expenses (69%) or the mortgage (48%).
Ross, Founder of Rise said: “We’re seeing an increasing shift in peoples’ mindsets and what they want from their work – gone are the days where an employee’s pay packet was enough to keep them in their jobs. People want businesses to support them in finding meaning in their work, and prioritise a positive workplace culture, rather than simply offering them more money.
“It’s easy to tell people to pursue their dreams and find work that is meaningful and will make them happy, but the reality can be difficult to achieve. There are often complex pressures that weigh people down in their ability to have the freedom to switch roles. The feeling of being trapped can spiral into employees feeling unhappy, disengaged and unproductive at work.
“Business leaders need to take note of the changing priorities of employees to ensure they’re putting their happiness front and centre in everything they do. Without this focus, businesses will struggle to keep the best talent in their teams and maximise success.”
The findings also showed that businesses can be doing more to effectively engage staff, with two in three workers (61%) admitting that they would be more engaged with their work if there was an opportunity to progress in their career. While most Aussies (54%), said they would find their work more meaningful if their career goals were defined, and if their boss was genuinely concerned with their happiness (61%).
Ross continues: “Finding meaning at work isn’t always about changing jobs – sometimes all it takes is revaluating what you want to get out of work and addressing that with your boss. Business leaders and employees alike need to have regular, honest conversations about how they can work together to best support both individual and organisational goals.
“Employers seek loyalty and dedication from employees but it’s important that businesses reciprocate that. One way to ensure workplace meaning and happiness is a business priority is by invoking “happiness ambassadors” to lead by example and report to the board on staff engagement and happiness.
“By building meaning and happiness into the workplace culture, a business will reap the benefits as happier employees are more creative, engaged and productive, and the organisation’s success will soar.”
Summary of research stats:
- 66% of Australians value happiness at work over money
- 81% of Australians said finding meaning in their work would increase their overall happiness levels
- 72% would be happier at work if they felt valued
- 70% would be happier at work if they felt the work they were doing was making an impact
- 64% would be happier at work if the culture was better
- 44% cite the pressure of not knowing what career Australians want to pursue is a major reason why they stay in their jobs
- 39% of Australians cite the pressure of the family’s expectations is a major reason why they stay in their jobs
- 41% state the possibility of a longer commute to work is a major reason why they stay in their jobs
- 69% state paying off their monthly living expenses is a major reason why they stay in their jobs
- 48% of Australians state that paying off their mortgage is a major reason why they stay in their jobs
- 61% would be more engaged with their work if they felt their boss was genuinely concerned with their happiness at work
- 54% would find their work more meaningful is their career goals were defined
- 61% would be more engaged with their work if there was an opportunity to progress in their career
Research methodology: The research was commissioned in June 2018 by Pureprofile. The poll surveyed 1001 employed Australians aged 18-65+ years