Mental health overtook “cost of living” as workers’ key concern

(Australian Associated Press)


Employers are being forced to accept a “new social contract” in which businesses adopt a greater role in protecting worker wellbeing and pushing for social change, new data suggests.

The research, commissioned by Australian software giant Atlassian, found many workers had over the past 12 months de-prioritised their careers in favour of their mental health and wellbeing.

The survey of more than 1200 Australians found more than three quarters wanted their employer to speak up on societal issues.

A similar number of respondents wanted businesses to be “just as concerned” with their social impact as their financial performance.

More than 35 per cent of workers, meanwhile, said they would quit their job if their employer’s values did not align with theirs. This includes nearly half of respondents from “Gen Z”.

On the flip side, more than two thirds of respondents agreed an employer who speaks out on societal issues is more appealing.

Atlassian co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar said technological advancements were creating a “global war for talent” and employers had to do more to retain the best people.

Atlassian earlier this year said its employees could permanently work from any location, even after the COVID-19 pandemic’s conclusion.

“We’re in a global war for talent and employees want change. There have never been higher expectations on business, and how we respond as leaders is crucial,” Mr Farquhar said.

The study found mental health had become the “top issue of importance” for workers in 2021 after a year of coronavirus-prompted lockdowns, restrictions and hybrid work arrangements.

Mental health overtook “cost of living” as workers’ key concern.

Almost seven in 10 employees said they would consider rejecting a job promotion to preserve their mental health, the survey found.

Furthermore, 40 per cent said their employer was their most important provider of mental health support.


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