Australian workers open to employers mandating COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace


Three in five Australian workers are open to their employer mandating COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace, according to the June quarter ELMO Employee Sentiment Index (ESI).

The ESI found that 62 per cent of Australian workers believe employers should require their employees to be vaccinated while nearly half (44%) of Australian workers are uncomfortable going into work if their colleagues are not vaccinated.

The vaccine rollout is also an important factor for workers with three quarters (76%) reporting they believe the economy will only return to normal if an Australian COVID-19 vaccine rollout is successful, yet only two in five (41%) workers believe Australia is on track with its vaccination rollout.

ELMO Software CEO Danny Lessem says the COVID-19 vaccine will become a tough challenge for employers in the coming months.

“We are already seeing different companies take different approaches to managing vaccination requirements in the workplace. It’s far from a cut-and-dried matter and will require employers to be able to engage in transparent one-to-one communication with their employees.

“The vaccine rollout is an important issue for workers’ perceptions of economic security with 76 per cent stating the economy will only return to normal if the rollout is successful. The message from Australian workers is clear – to kickstart the economy we need to kickstart the vaccine rollout.”

The insights into employee attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccinations follows on from the employee sentiment indexing research of the ESI. The benchmarking research also found that Australian workers are feeling less secure in their jobs and more burnt out compared to the first quarter of the year.

The ESI recorded a 8 point drop in perceived job security among Australian workers from 55 per cent reporting they perceived their jobs to be secure in the March quarter to 47 per cent in the June quarter. This drop was mirrored across perceptions of economic security, falling from 30 per cent to 19 per cent, industry security from 59 per cent to 54 per cent and organisational security from 57 per cent to 52 per cent.

The decline is in stark contrast to New Zealand which recorded just a one point decline in perceived job security among its workforce to 55 per cent compared to the March quarter.

Alongside falling perceptions of security, workers are feeling more burnt out and overwhelmed. Burnout rates among Australian workers increased by 8 points to 42 per cent. Similarly, there was a 10 point increase in workers reporting being overwhelmed by the amount of work they had to do. The feelings of burnout and overwhelm are possibly resulting in a three point decline in workers feeling they are remunerated fairly (from 66% to 63%) and a four point decline in workers feeling recognised for their workplace contributions (from 67% to 63%).

Despite concerns about job and economic security, a quarter (26%) of Australian workers are considering changing their careers  – a two point increase on the previous quarter. Similarly, there has been a three point increase in the workers actively searching for new roles in another company, up from 16 per cent to 19 per cent.

ELMO Software CEO Danny Lessem says the findings should be ringing the alarm bells for Australian employers.

“Employees feeling burnt out, unrecognised for their efforts and insecure in their jobs is a dangerous combination for employers. This mix should be the ‘canary in the coal’ mine to do something now to make employees’ lives easier.

“With large parts of the economy experiencing a skills shortage, workplaces can’t afford to lose employees. Yet, the risk of losing good workers is greater now than it was at the beginning of the year.

“Unsurprisingly, 68 per cent of Australian workers believe greater technology will help them in their jobs. Employers need to turn to technology to reduce the manual processes in people’s work lives so they can feel less burnt out and focus on tasks that lead to outputs for the company.”

The ELMO Employee Sentiment Index is a quarterly poll of fixed questions and alternating topical questions. The ESI provides a quarterly track of sentiment among Australian workers toward the economy, their jobs and their wellbeing. Commissioned by ELMO Software and conducted by Lonergan Research, the ESI has polls more than 1,000 Australians workers about their attitudes, actions and concerns in the workplace over the past three months as well as their plans and expectations for the future.

The report can be downloaded by the public here.


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