Cost-of-living is having a direct impact on employee sentiment towards work, new research from Allianz Australia has revealed.  

More than one-third (35%) of surveyed employees say cost-of-living pressures are negatively impacting their job satisfaction, along with fatigue and burnout (33%), with almost one-quarter (24%) stating they feel they are underpaid at work.

In addition, over one-quarter of surveyed employees (28%) claim they have felt exhausted when it comes to work over the past 12 months, with Gen Z (40%), the highest among all generations surveyed. Gen Z (27%) and Gen X (32%) were least likely to state they were satisfied with work, but more likely than Millennials (30%) to be feeling the pressure of fatigue and burnout.  

New claims data from Allianz Australia saw a 39% increase in the average number of days taken off work due to mental health in the last four years, with the cost of claims rising 36% in the same period. Work pressure continues to be a key driver for primary psychological claims. 

Despite the toll on employee wellbeing and satisfaction at work, nearly nine out of ten (89%) of surveyed managers state that they are satisfied with their organisation’s ability to create mentally healthy workplaces for their employees in the last 12 months. 

This misalignment between employees and managers on workplace concerns is affecting how organisations can effectively address mental health issues in the workplace. While the majority of surveyed managers (60%) say their organisation has gone above and beyond to provide support and systems to create a mentally healthy workplace, just one in three (33%) employees share the same sentiment. 

In response, Allianz Australia is calling for organisations to embark on The Workplace Realignment, to better understand the expectations of employees across diverse generations and closely consider how employees’ sentiment to work and expectations in a post-pandemic world marry up with the support provided by workplaces today.

Allianz Australia chief general manager of personal injury, Julie Mitchell said, “Ongoing disruptions have continued to fuel a disconnect between managers, employees and organisations on the most important workplace mental health issues. This disconnect continues to have a serious impact on workplace satisfaction and employee retention, and in turn, is continuing a worrying trend of increasing mental health claims in the workplace.”

Employees have highlighted empathic and emotionally intelligent environments (41%), over adequate remuneration in line with the market (39%) as the leading measures they believe their organisations should commit to drive improved mental health outcomes, alongside clear processes and policies to communicate workplace concerns (36%).

“Monolithic approaches to supporting mentally healthy workplaces aren’t sustainable. Organisations must address changing employee expectations, by acknowledging their concerns and offering mental health and wellbeing programs aligned to expectations. This demands a holistic view of an employee’s workplace experience, including mental health support, engagement, culture, remuneration, career progression and retention activities,” Mitchell said.