8 in 10 Australians are optimistic about their work over the next five years

09 April, 2024

  • The majority (80%) of Australian employees are optimistic about the next five years in the workplace
  • IT & telecommunications (96%), construction (88%) and finance (83%) are the industries with the highest level of positive sentiment
  • More than 4 in 5 (84%) work-from-home employees, across all industries, feel optimistic about the future workplace due to increased flexibility

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – 9 April: The latest research from leading HR and Payroll solutions provider, ADP, reveals widespread optimism about the future of work among Australians.

Despite ongoing apprehensions about AI, cost-of-living and other concerns, 8 in 10 Australians still report being quite or very optimistic about work over the next five years, influenced by workplace factors such as job security, career satisfaction and professional growth.

ADP surveyed 1,400 Australian workers across various industries and demographics in its People at Work research. The findings also revealed Australians working in IT and telecoms (96%), construction (88%) and finance (83%) have the most positive outlook on their careers.

Comparatively, many employees are concerned about their employers’ lack of focus on the development of career and skill set opportunities, with 40% in transport, 48% in media and information and 50% in retail or trade expressing less optimism than most other industries surveyed.

Kylie Baullo, ADP Managing Director ANZ, emphasised the adaptability of Australian workers amidst evolving workplace and macroeconomic trends.

“Australians are an overwhelmingly resilient bunch. Despite the increasing pressures of the cost of living and the widely reported concerns around AI replacing workers and wage discrepancies, our research shows that Australians are positive about the future of work. That said, businesses must keep this sentiment alive, especially in light of these concerns,” said Ms. Baullo.

"Employers should continue prioritising supporting and freeing their HR teams from administrative activities to focus on important strategies, such as employee engagement. One option is to outsource back-end functions, such as payroll, to third-party experts," Ms. Baullo continued.

The report also shed light on other factors spurring optimism in the workplace, with increased flexibility high on the priority list for most Australians. In fact, more than four in five (84%) Australians who regularly work from home across all industries report feeling positive about the future of their role for the next five years.

“Flexible working arrangements continue to improve Australians’ hopes for their careers but aren’t the sole solution to employees’ sense of optimism,” said Ms Baullo.

“Continuing to reward achievements, addressing mental health concerns, upskilling training programs, and promoting open communication are all essential elements for creating a supportive workplace culture and in turn, creating employee optimism.

“Innovation can also play a key role. By leveraging solutions that automate tasks, such as payroll administration, managers can devote more time to supporting and collaborating with their teams,” added Ms Baullo.

As Australian businesses navigate the complexities of the modern workplace, prioritising employee well-being and fostering a culture of optimism emerge as critical imperatives.

For more insights, please read the ‘People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View’ report.


About the research

ADP Research Institute® surveyed 32,612 workers in 17 countries around the world between 28 October and 18 November 2022 including over 8,613 working exclusively in the gig economy. This included:

  • 7,721 in Asia Pacific (Australia, China, India and Singapore)
  • 15,290 in Europe (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the UK)
  • 5,751 in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil and Chile)
  • 3,850 in North America (USA and Canada).

Within the worker sample gig workers and traditional workers were identified. Gig workers were identified as those who work on a contingent, temporary, or seasonal basis, or as a freelancer, independent contractor, consultant, gig worker, or use an online platform to source work. Traditional employees were identified as those who are not working in the gig economy and instead have a permanent full or part-time position.

The survey was conducted online in the local language. Overall results are weighted to represent the size of the working population for each country. Weightings are based on labour force data from the World Bank,[1] which is derived using data from the ILOSTAT database, the central statistics database of the International Labour Organization (ILO), as of February 8, 2022.


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