Aussies Say No to ‘Quiet Quitting’, Yes to Avo Toast (and Better Pay)

April 3, 2024

Despite the economic challenges of 2023, Australians are approaching the future with a newfound sense of optimism. While a recent study highlights common career regrets around pay and work-life balance, workers are taking a proactive approach to improve both. Could this signify a shift in priorities for the Aussie workforce?

2023 was the year when the labour market softened and recruitment difficulties eased. It was a time to reflect on one’s career, where individuals ponder what they could’ve done differently. Though a recent study highlights common regrets surrounding pay and work-life balance, a sense of optimism among Australian workers has emerged in 2024.

Millennials lead in career regrets, survey shows

A recent international survey of 1,000 employees reveals a concerning trend: Millennials are the most likely generation to experience career regrets, primarily around pay and work-life balance. Here’s the generational breakdown:

  • Gen Z (61%)
  • Millennials (70%)
  • Gen X (69%)
  • Baby Boomers (52%)

Young guns prioritise growth, Aussies reject ‘Quiet Quitting’

While the international survey suggests a focus on regrets, young Australian workers (those in the first five years of their career) are prioritising growth through job changes aimed at higher salaries and promotions. This generation seems less concerned about traditional job security and more focused on aligning their career paths with their individual goals.

This proactive mindset is exemplified by stories like Darren’s. Rejecting the 2023 trend of “quiet quitting,” Darren transformed his passion for woodworking into a successful business, “Chisel & Charm.”  His journey highlights the Aussie can-do attitude and the potential to turn passions into fulfilling careers.

Overall, employees are more content than ever, looking ahead with enthusiasm rather than trepidation. Narrowly bypassing a potential economic recession in 2023, Australian individuals and businesses are feeling a sense of relief and ‘quiet optimism’.

The fight for fair pay in a tough economy

It’s no secret – everyone wants a higher salary. However, the economic pressures of inflation and a tighter job market are complicating matters for Australian workers. This dilemma is highlighted in a recent survey, where 60% of participants regret not asking for pay increases earlier in their careers.

While job security often takes precedence during economic uncertainty, today’s workers are taking a two-pronged approach. They’re focused on demonstrating their value to justify higher pay in their current roles while remaining open to better-paying opportunities elsewhere.

Negotiating a pay rise in this climate is tricky. Remember, it’s about ensuring your compensation keeps pace with the rising cost of living – even if it means sacrificing your daily avocado toast!

The elusive quest for work-life balance

The importance of work-life balance has been amplified in recent years, yet it remains a major source of regret for many employees. A significant 59% of survey respondents wish they had prioritised it earlier, citing the impact on health, lifestyle, family, and personal hobbies.

Finding a company that genuinely values work-life balance can feel impossible. A good litmus test during the interview process is to inquire about the company’s policies on flexible work arrangements and attitudes towards things like remote work.

If a career change isn’t feasible, remember that you have the right to use your leave entitlements. Don’t let vacation days go unused, and prioritise your wellbeing by taking sick or carer’s leave when necessary.

A generational shift with room for improvement

Millennials, known for embracing the gig economy, have become strong advocates for flexibility and work-life balance. A Deloitte survey confirms this, with 84% of Millennials seeking flexible work arrangements. This signifies a clear departure from the traditional 9-to-5 work model.

Despite this shift, Australia still lags in work-life balance compared to other nations. An OECD survey reports that 13% of Australian workers put in very long hours, surpassing the OECD average. This highlights a need for continued improvement in prioritising work-life balance.

Take action! Advocate for greater flexibility in your job, negotiate for a pay rise that reflects your worth, and actively reclaim your personal time. Even small changes, like having a good coffee machine at work can make a positive difference in your overall work experience.

Share your wins – have you overcome a career challenge? Found a way to balance it all? Your story could inspire others!

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