Culture & Competency

Those Unproductive Australians

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Australian workers wasted $109 billion in wages each year, a figure calculated as 18% of the annual $606 billion wages bill.

The inaugural Australian Productivity Pulse survey found that management issues (54 per cent), organisation structure (23 per cent), a lack of innovation (15 per cent) and outdated technology (8 per cent) were cited by employees as the drains on productivity.

According to Mr Plumridge [from Erst & Young], productivity in Australia has been on a 10-year decline.

That view is supported by Graham Bradley, the departing chief of the Business Council of Australia, who last week said the nation had endured decades of “mediocre growth and declining opportunity” because of a productivity slump.

In a speech in Sydney, Mr Bradley called on employers and workers to “strike adult agreements with each other to embrace technology, improve productivity and share the benefits.”

My Comments
1. Given the factors that the survey respondents listed as contributing to poor productivity – management issues (54%), organization structure (23%), a lack of innovation (15%), and outdated technology (8%) – I find the recommendation in Bradley’s speech to “embrace technology” misplaced. Of course it could be an issue of how the speech was reported, and that Bradley actually talked about focusing more attention on the other issues.

2. Being clear about what you are working on, and why it is usefully aligned with the organization’s goals and objectives – what I’d term “management issues” – are much more important than the technology being used. Australians, focus on that!

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