The high price of stress

by Richard Denniss

Job ads and corporate websites are often littered with claims that particular companies are “employers of choice” or committed to the wellbeing of staff. But according to a recent survey by the Australia Institute, around one third of the workforce reports experiencing stress and anxiety as a result of their work. About 2.2 million workers head out for work in the morning with little or no idea of what time they will finish that night. Is that what “flexibility” means in the modern debate about workplace reform? A genuinely flexible labour market has the potential to deliver substantial benefits for employers, employees and society more generally. A labour market that was more responsive to the needs of young parents, for example, would drive a substantial increase in labour force participation and, in turn, economic growth.

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