The University of South Australia’s Centre for Work + Life has today released findings from its 2010 Australian Work and Life Index, which includes a South Australian specific report.
Titled ‘Juggling Work Life Balance in South Australia’, the report was written by Centre for Work + Life researchers Dr Natalie Skinner and Sandra Pisaniello.
Centre Director Professor Barbara Pocock says the research, which was supported by funding from SafeWork SA, found many South Australians would like to work less, taking into account the effect this would have on their income.
“Nearly 40 per cent of SA men would like to reduce their hours by at least four a week and 30 per cent of SA women would like to join them,” she says.
“On average SA employees would like to work 2.7 hours less per week.
“Full time employees are most likely to prefer fewer hours – 44.9 per cent of men and 51 per cent of women, on average, would prefer to work six hours less, whereas part-timers would prefer an increase of four hours per week.”
Other key findings on South Australians work-life balance include:
SA women working full-time have better work-life outcomes than their counterparts nationally.
More mothers working full-time in SA would prefer to work part-time, compared to nationally.
Self employed fathers in SA have better work-life outcomes than nationally.
Older workers aged 55+ have the best work-life outcomes in SA.
Work interferes with community connections less frequently in SA than nationally.
Mining and the information, media and telecommunications industries have the longest work hours and worst work-life outcomes in SA.
The overall work and life index score for South Australia was 42.3 out of 100, which is slightly better but not significantly different to the score of 43.3 for all Australians.
Prof Pocock says while there is no sign that SA is worse than the national picture on overall work-life outcomes, many South Australians are affected by poor work-life outcomes and their well-being can be improved by action at state level.
“This makes the State Government Strategic Plan target to improve work-life outcomes and well-being an important goal. Poor work-life outcomes are associated with poorer health, more use of prescription medications, more stress, and more dissatisfaction with close personal relationships,” she says.
“This means that poor work-life outcomes negatively affect the well-being of both individuals and larger society, including the state budget.”
Prof Pocock says the report found factors that are particularly important in shaping work and life outcomes are: workplace factors including access to flexible hours and reasonable workloads; personal factors such as parenting and care responsibilities; and community factors such as commuting distances and access to childcare.
“Many of these issues are open to influence by the action of the South Australian Government,” she says.
“While state governments do not determine most aspects of labour regulation, in other areas they are very influential – for example in their influence on employers, and their effects on urban planning that affect the spatial alignment of work, home and community life.
“Some issues also require action by other levels of government including both local government and the national government. The activities of employers, unions and community organisations are also important.”
The report can be downloaded at http://www.unisa.edu.au/hawkeinstitute/cwl/default.asp