STUDY: Australia's middle managers are a sad bunch

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Millennials, middle managers and middle income earners are the sad cases of Australia’s work force.

They are the most disengaged workers, contributing to Australia’s weak productivity, according to a large study.

The research, Disengaged Nation, by organisational firm SACS Consulting and Deakin University, surveyed more than 2,600 employees, one of the biggest studies into workplace engagement in Australia’s history.

Worker engagement is recognised in business and psychology as a proxy for productivity at the organisation level. Engagement is tied to profitability and customer satisfaction.

This is what the study says about Australian workers:

  • The healthcare sector has the happiest employees, while the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) sector has the most disaffected staff
  • Local government employees are much more engaged in their jobs than state government employees
  • Millenials are the least engaged age group
  • Middle income earners on $70,000 – $150,000 the least engaged

The report says many employers are preoccupied with how to attract and retain younger workers.

“The SACS research shows that employers should be worried that those under 30 are far less engaged in their work than their older colleagues,” says Andrew Marty, Managing Director of SACS Consulting.

This chart shows engagement based on the age of a worker:

But the least engaged workers are those on middle incomes and in middle management, earning between $70,000 – $150,000 a year, as this chart shows:

“Middle managers are sadly the meat in the sandwich,” the report says. “They get neither the gratification of delivery at lower levels of the organisation, nor the satisfaction of seeing their strategies carried out at the top.”

This chart shows the engagement of workers by industry:

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