Only 4 per cent of organizations managed to decrease their employees’ level of overtime last financial year, according to recruitment and workforce solutions specialists Hays.

Alarmingly, while 51 per cent kept overtime rates steady year-on-year, 45 per cent increased overtime even further. This rise in overtime could be a cause for quiet quitting among disgruntled workers.

More than 4,400 organizations were surveyed for the annual Hays Salary Guide. In 31 per cent of organizations, Hays found the average weekly amount of overtime was more than 10 per cent of standard hours. In a 40-hour working week, this equates to at least four hours extra per week. In 8 per cent of organizations, the weekly average amount of overtime was more than 21 per cent, or above eight hours per week.

In Australia, 56 per cent of overtime is unpaid. Furthermore, 24 per cent of those who are currently looking or planning to look for a new job in the next 12 months cite poor work-life balance as a motivating factor.

“Skills shortages reached acute levels in the past year, leading many employers to ask their existing team to work longer hours to cover critical gaps,” says Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays.

“We know that 83 per cent of employers say skills shortages will impact the effective operation of their organization this financial year. According to employers, the number one impact will be increased workloads for existing staff (nominated by 71 per cent of employers in the Hays Salary Guide).

“Any increase in overtime is a dangerous signal that staff are under pressure. Morale, health, wellbeing and stress-related absenteeism could all be affected.”

To counter rising overtime rates, Hays suggests organizations:

  • Leverage tools and software to track working hours, detect overtime patterns and identify predictors of burnout;
  • Use employee pulse surveys to measure employee wellbeing;
  • Review the team or organization’s resource model and embed agility so you can scale up for seasonal peaks without negatively impacting employee wellbeing and satisfaction;
  • Encourage staff to take time off immediately before or after seasonal peaks.


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