With the indexation on study and training loans this year, it's a critical time to examine the wellbeing of young people (ages 18-24) in or entering the workforce. The indexation applied on 1 June 2023, is the highest in a decade at 7.1%, and includes loans such as the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), Trade Support Loan (TSL) and more. As young people manage the demands of their new careers in a changing financial landscape, they are increasingly grappling with the challenges of low wellbeing.

Generational wellbeing

Our 2023 Workforce Trends Report — Workplace Wellbeing Index surveyed over 2,600 Australian employees, 22% of which were between the ages of 18-24. We found this demographic displays the lowest levels of wellbeing across segments. In comparison, those over the age of 65 reported the highest levels of wellbeing.

Young people wellbeing reported as 5% lower than other segments.

While some may be quick to label this a generational trend, perhaps a more practical explanation is younger employees are earlier in their careers, experiencing more life transitions and the events of the last two years have had a disproportional impact on this population as they navigate starting and establishing a career in an unstable environment.

The consequences of this low wellbeing not only affect the individuals themselves but also have far-reaching implications on their engagement to the workplace.

People with high wellbeing report 2.3x higher engagement at work.

Beyond the immediate experience of wellbeing, we also see an increased risk of burnout for employees reporting lower wellbeing. Across all ages we see this increasing trend of employees saying they are continuing to work even when they feel they should take time off or taking additional time off due their wellbeing.

These findings show an increasing and significant risk for organisations if left unaddressed, both in relation to increasing leave and loss of productivity, but perhaps more concerning, results point to an increase in the likelihood of work-related injury claims.

A focus on safety in the workplace

In this year's study, we presented employees with the various components of an employee value proposition (EVP), which defines the give-and-get of the employment relationship. As a whole, remuneration, reward and benefits emerged as the most crucial factor. However, when we break down into age groups, different priorities emerge.

Younger employees cite an organisation's focus on safety, health and wellbeing, as more important than remuneration and benefits.

Additionally, the importance placed on practical efforts to protect physical and psychological health dovetails into the Work Health and Safety Act 2022 which legislates that directors now have personal liability for psychological injuries.

Young peoples' other priorities in an EVP include career pathways and development opportunities and the promise of meaningful work. Remuneration, rewards and benefits rank 4th on their consideration when joining a new organisation.

This contrast between what different demographics want from an EVP highlights that what works for one segment of a workforce doesn't always work for another. A static or one-size-fits-all EVP is likely to be ineffective in resonating with employees.

Download our 2023 Workforce Trends Report — Workplace Wellbeing Index for more insights into what different employees are looking for from an EVP.

How Gallagher can help

Organisations need to look beyond salary and benefits when it comes to attraction and retention. People value an employer that meets their individual needs and expectations. Led by our interdisciplinary team, Gallagher can provide an end-to-end EVP solution or targeted help for wherever you are in your journey. We partner with our clients to research, assess, and design their EVP, implement benefits packages, and create compelling communications to bring it to life.



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