Facts, figures and visuals on survey respondent wellbeing

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Key findings

The key findings are for the Victorian public sector.

Work-related wellbeing

Overall work-related wellbeing fell in 2021 compared to 2019.

Work-related stress

Respondents who experienced high to severe stress:

  • rose to 26% from 22% in 2019
  • reported workload and time pressure as the leading causes.

Feelings at work

How work made respondents feel often, very often or always:

  • enthusiastic rose to 48% from 47% in 2019
  • happy fell to 50% from 56% in 2019
  • miserable rose to 19%  from 14% in 2019
  • worried rose to 37% from 30% in 2019

Safety at work

Respondents who feel their organisation and leaders support their psychological and physical safety at work rose to 60% from 51% in 2019.

Employee engagement

Employee engagement rose to 70 index points from 67 in 2019.


Work-related stress

Work-related stress describes an employee’s stress response to work-related factors.

These responses may be physical, mental, emotional or behavioural, such as:

  • physical, like headaches, indigestion, tiredness, slow reactions, shortness of breath or illness
  • mental, like difficulty in decision-making or forgetfulness
  • emotional, like irritability, excess worrying, feeling worthless, anxiety, defensiveness, anger or mood swings
  • behavioural, like diminished performance, withdrawal behaviours or impulsive behaviour

Lower work-related stress is linked to positive organisational outcomes, such as job retention and performance.

Graph 1 of 2: Respondents who experienced high to severe stress in 2019 and 2021

This first graph shows the percentage of respondents who reported high, very high or severe levels of stress in response to work-related factors.

High to severe levels of stress can negatively affect employees’ health and wellbeing as well as their performance and behaviour.

Graph 2 of 2: Main causes of stress in 2021

In this final graph, respondents who experienced high to severe stress reported on what work-related factors contributed to their stress.

The results may add up to more than 100% because respondents could choose more than one answer.


Emotional effects of work

Emotional effects of work are the positive and negative feelings respondents experienced in the 3 months before the survey.

Positive feelings may lead to higher wellbeing and job satisfaction and a lower chance of burnout.

Respondents whose work made them feel enthusiastic in 2019 and 2021

This graph shows the percentage of respondents whose work made them feel enthusiastic.

The results combine the answers of often, very often or always.

Respondents whose work made them feel happy in 2019 and 2021

This graph shows the percentage of respondents whose work made them feel happy.

The results combine the answers of often, very often or always.

Respondents whose work made them feel miserable in 2019 and 2021

This graph shows the percentage of respondents whose work made them feel miserable.

The results combine the answers of often, very often or always.

Respondents whose work made them feel worried in 2019 and 2021

This graph shows the percentage of respondents whose work made them feel worried.

The results combine the answers of often, very often or always.


Psychological and physical safety climate in 2019 and 2021

This graph shows the percentage of respondents who feel their organisation supports their safety at work.

A safe workplace is a key outcome of Leading the way and the Victorian public sector mental health and wellbeing charter.

It combines agree and strongly agree answers to these statements:

  • I feel culturally safe at work.
  • Senior leaders show support for stress prevention through involvement and commitment.
  • Senior leaders consider the psychological health of employees to be as important as productivity.
  • My organisation provides a physically safe work environment.
  • My organisation consults employees on health and safety matters.
  • My organisation has effective procedures in place to support employees who may experience stress.
  • In my workplace, there is good communication about psychological safety issues that affect me.
  • All levels of my organisation are involved in the prevention of stress.

Engagement index in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021

This graph shows how engaged respondents are with their organisation because of the work they do.

A high employee engagement rating indicates employees are enthusiastic and energetic about their work.

The employee engagement index is a score out of 100.

The engagement statements are:

  • My organisation motivates me to help achieve its objectives.
  • My organisation inspires me to do the best in my job.
  • I would recommend my organisation as a good place to work.
  • I am proud to tell others I work for my organisation.
  • I feel a strong personal attachment to my organisation.

The weightings for each engagement response are:

  • strongly agree is 100 points
  • agree is 75 points
  • neither agree nor disagree is 50 points
  • disagree is 25 points
  • strongly disagree is 0 points.

The index is the average of these scores.


Satisfaction in 2019 and 2021

This graph shows the percentage of respondents who feel satisfied with their jobs, work-life balance and career development.

High satisfaction may lead to improved engagement, wellbeing, performance and lower absences and turnover.

It combines satisfied and very satisfied answers to these questions:

  • How satisfied are you with the work/life balance in your current job?
  • Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your current job?
  • How satisfied are you with your career development within your current organisation?

Career intentions of respondents in 2021

This graph shows the percentage of respondents who intend to:

  • stay in their current organisation for more than 2 years
  • move to another public sector organisation within 2 years
  • leave the public sector within 2 years

An intention to stay in the organisation or the public sector may indicate satisfaction and engagement.

Why respondents intend to leave their organisation or the public sector in 2021

In this graph, respondents who intend to leave their organisation report on why.

It provides insight into what might be driving employees to leave.