Only One In Five Australian Public Sector Workers Say They're Operating At Their Best

A vast majority of Australia public sector workers say they aren’t as productive as they could be, with only one in five believing that they’re operating at their best.

A newly released EY survey found Australian public sector productivity lagging that of the private sector by $2.4 billion and suggested that public sector business models, practices and policies were to blame.

Almost three in ten (29%) of private sector workers said they were operating at their best.

“This is not about the skills and capability of the public sector workforce, which is comparable with the private sector,” EY Oceania advisory leader Neil Plumridge said.

“Nor is it about remuneration, which can be higher in the public sector. We can only conclude that the productivity of public sector workers is being held back by government organisations themselves.

From the report:

According to EY’s survey findings, 13% of public sector workers said their primary focus was keeping their manager satisfied instead of focusing on the quality or quantity of their work, versus 3% of private sector workers.

Meanwhile, only 22% of public sector back office managers felt responsible for workers’ productivity, compared to 37% in the private sector, and 17% fewer public sector workers reported being satisfied with their managers.

EY also blamed government cost-cutting efforts for lowering public sector productivity, with 39% of public sector workers reporting that they needed more staff to deliver current workloads, compared to 24% of private sector workers.

The firm recommended that public sector organisations aim to make managers more accountable for productivity gains, introduce more flexible work practices, optimise staffing levels and improve how they engage and use contractors to improve productivity.

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