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Three in five Australian white-collar workers are ‘rage applying’ for new jobs

Three in five Australian white-collar workers are ‘rage applying’ for new jobs

Three in five Australian white-collar workers have rage applied for a new job since the beginning of the year.

“Rage applying” is the practice of applying for a new job as retaliation for a bad day at work.

The findings come from a survey of more than 2,000 Australian professionals conducted by recruitment company Robert Walters. The same survey has been conducted in other countries, with Canadathe US, and South Africa all reporting over 60%.

More than half (65%) of Australian respondents said toxic workplace culture had driven their decision to apply for a new job. A fifth of workers blamed poor work-life balance (20%), followed by an unmanageable workload (13%). Just 3% said that a disagreement with management led to them rage-applying in the past six months.

Almost half (47%) said they had applied for multiple new roles within a short space of time.

Robert Walters Australia and New Zealand CEO Shay Peters said this placed the issue within the employer’s control.

“It’s rather intriguing to observe that this surge in job applications is not primarily motivated by factors such as salary or career advancement. Rather, it seems to stem from the work environment and policies,” he said.

“Identifying toxic workplace cultures isn’t always a simple task, yet it can profoundly affect the mental well-being, morale, and creativity of employees.”

“As we embrace the arrival of more gen Z individuals into the workforce, it’s crucial for employers to recognise that the priorities of employees are evolving. While salaries may have once reigned supreme as the primary driving force, gen Z is considerably more concerned about the office culture and working policies.”

Rage applying is one of many forms of protest workers dissatisfied with their workplace may engage in. Like other forms of workplace disengagement, it has implications for productivity and security in the public service, particularly where security clearances are concerned.

While the terminology may be novel, the trend is nothing new. Tracking by Gallup has shown the number of people “actively disengaged” from their work in the US has remained around 15-20% for more than two decades.

Chief scientist of workplace management and wellbeing at Gallup Jim Harter said there was a sharp increase in worker dissatisfaction during the COVID-19 pandemic evident in young people.

“Since the pandemic, younger workers have declined significantly in feeling cared about and having opportunities to develop — primarily from their manager,” he said.

“The percentage of engaged employees under the age of 35 dropped by four percentage points from 2019 to 2022. And during the same time, the percentage of actively disengaged employees increased by six points.”

The suggestion from both Gallup and Robert Walters is more active engagement in crafting workplace culture. While specific tools like anonymous feedback surveys are useful in this context, actively fostering a positive workplace culture needs to be elevated within the management agenda to achieve meaningful change.

“Elevate its importance in your management’s agenda — ensure that managers fully understand that fostering team morale and cultivating a positive work environment is a fundamental aspect of their role,” said Peters.

“Obtain genuine insights into how your employees truly feel by asking open-ended questions regarding the company culture. Dedicate sufficient time to thoroughly review all comments and gain valuable insights into the root causes of any existing issues.

“Developing a conducive culture requires investment. The reality is that the workplace comprises individuals brought together based on their diverse skill sets, not necessarily because they would naturally form close friendships. Consequently, companies need to proactively invest time and resources into creating a friendly, social, and inclusive environment, as these elements rarely materialise by chance. ”

This article was first published by The Mandarin.