Survey: Job Security and COVID-19—How Do Australian Workers Feel About Their Jobs?

Woman hanging a dress on a mannequin at work

The impact of COVID-19 on workers around the world, and here in Australia, has been severe. With unemployment at an all time high, loneliness and anxiety on the rise, and one state enduring one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, the pandemic has negatively impacted the mindset of many workers in Australia—with job security being at the top of many people’s minds.

We reached out to almost 1,000 workers across the nation to get a better understanding of how Australians have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether factors such as age and tenure influenced their experience. In this blog, we dive deep into the findings of the survey results, and how the issues of job security and motivation are stressing some groups out more than others.
Not all workers are concerned about losing their jobs 

Surprisingly, the survey found that not all workers have been concerned about job loss during the pandemic. For example, the longer workers have been employed at their organisation, the less anxious they feel about the likelihood of losing their jobs—with only 33% who have been with their company for more than 5 years saying they were concerned about job security. On the other hand, 46% of workers who have worked for their employer for between one and five years years say they’re concerned about future job loss.

49% of employees working from home are concerned about losing their jobs Source: Mervcorp

Whether employees are working from home or at their workplace has also impacted how stressed they feel about their job security. While only 35% of Australians working out of home are concerned about losing their jobs, almost half (49%) of those who are working from home are worried about their job security.

Working from home has negatively impacted workers

It seems that working from home has negatively affected Australians in more ways than one. While workers who are working from home seem to be more worried about their jobs than those who aren’t, they also seem to have less motivation about their work. For example, 71% of those surveyed who are not working from home said their confidence in their ability to deliver work has not changed, and 59% said their ability to concentrate on work tasks has also not changed.

Those working from home aren’t as confident. Only 53% said their confidence in their ability to deliver work hasn’t changed, and 39% said their ability to concentrate hasn’t changed. As we enter our ninth month of working from home, motivation levels amongst workers appear to be dropping.
Younger workers feel more pressure and less motivated during the pandemic

Age seems to also play a major role in how workers in Australia feel about their job security during the pandemic—with older workers feeling less stressed about their jobs than younger workers. In fact, only 29% of those aged 50-59 years old said they were concerned they might lose their jobs, and 72% said their motivation levels remain unchanged during the pandemic.


34% of employees aged 18-24 years old say they feel less motivated to complete their work than before the pandemic. Source: Mervcorp

Meanwhile, 34% of those aged 18-24 years old say they feel less motivated to complete their work than before the pandemic, and 44% say they are concerned about losing their jobs in the future.

This could be influenced by the fact that more younger workers seem to personally know someone who has lost their job than older workers. Of those surveyed, 63% of those aged 18-24 years personally knew someone who had lost their job during the pandemic, compared to only 48% of those aged 50-59 years.

Most workers are satisfied with how Australian employers handled the pandemic 

While anxiety and stress levels for many workers have been at an all time high during COVID-19, overall, many employees are satisfied with how their employers have handled the pandemic. Of those surveyed, 70% said they felt that their employer had taken every step possible to avoid layoffs, and 65% said they felt their employer took the emotional wellbeing of their employees seriously.

However, those working in larger organisations felt slightly more positive about how their workplace had handled the pandemic, with 72% believing their employer had taken their staff’s emotional wellbeing seriously, compared to 65% for those working at small to medium sized businesses.

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainty into our world. And while COVID-19 has affected everyone’s mental health and work situation differently, we’re likely going to be dealing with this ‘new normal’ for some time. As a result, it’s important to remember that while cases in Australia are dwindling, the pandemic is not over, and the uncertainty around it may continue to negatively impact some employees. Stay tuned for our upcoming blog on Nov 30 where we will discuss how to help your employees feel less stressed and anxious during this time, particularly if they are working from home.

Source: The survey was conducted by Mevcorp on behalf of Indeed between 17-21 September 2020, and surveyed 966 Australian workers aged between 18 and 65.

Subscribe to Indeed to go: the monthly newsletter you'll actually want to read.