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Female employees bearing brunt of financial pressures

By Jack Campbell | |6 minute read

The cost-of-living crisis is impacting Australian workers, with females seemingly faring the worst, new research has found.

According to ELMO Software’s recent Employee Sentiment Index, the cost of living is taking a toll on employees in Australia, leading to burnout, reduced productivity, and mental health issues.

The index revealed that the cost-of-living crisis had impacted 65 per cent of Australian workers’ mental health. This financial stress is reportedly hitting women the hardest, with 72 per cent stating the cost of living has had a negative impact on their mental health, compared to 59 per cent of men.


ELMO Software chief executive and co-founder Danny Lessem commented: “It is concerning to see the disproportionate impact on women, who are already facing barriers in the workplace.”

“Historically, we know women are more likely to be underemployed and feel they’re not working enough hours – and that’s something that came through in our results. More than 20 per cent of women believe they aren’t working enough hours, compared to just 13 per cent of men,” said Mr Lessem.

Financial stress isn’t just affecting mental health. Another 54 per cent said it is affecting their physical health, and 44 per cent said their workplace productivity has suffered.

One way people are dealing with financial issues is selling their possessions, with 22 per cent of Australians admitting they’ve resorted to this. Women again were more likely to have to do this, with 28 per cent stating they have, compared to 17 per cent of men.

Other methods Aussies are using to try to save money is cancelling subscription services (34 per cent), unsubscribing from shopping emails (26 per cent), returning impulse buys (15 per cent), and cancelling or removing a credit card from their phone (12 per cent).

Women were also 13 per cent more likely to unsubscribe from a service compared to men. Different generations are also seeing varying degrees of financial stress.

ELMO said that younger workers are being hit hardest, with 85 per cent of Gen Z admitting to changing their lifestyle to keep up with the rising cost of living. This figure dropped with age, with 78 per cent of Millennials agreeing, 58 per cent of Gen X, and 39 per cent of Baby Boomers.

Inflation isn’t the only thing driving this burnout, however. Job security is also a major issue, with 27 per cent of Australians believing their company will make redundancies within three months. Another 26 per cent are worried their job will be on the line.

Mr Lessem continued: “It is clear that increasing financial and job insecurity is exacting a significant toll on the wellbeing of Australian employees, particularly women and younger workers.”

“These findings should serve as a wake-up call that to avert a burnout crisis, companies need to take proactive steps to support their employees, whether that is through financial education, mental health support or flexible working arrangements.”

Redundancy fears are resulting in 54 per cent of workers taking on extra responsibilities. Meanwhile, 37 per cent are working longer and harder. Again, this is hitting women more prominently, with 34 per cent working early or late compared to 24 per cent of men, and 31 per cent working through their lunch break compared to 20 per cent of men. These issues are leading to burnout in many industries, said ELMO.

“As the cost of living continues to rise, it is important that companies have a timely expenses management process in place to ensure their employees are not left struggling financially,” concluded Mr Lessem.



Employees experience burnout when their physical or emotional reserves are depleted. Usually, persistent tension or dissatisfaction causes this to happen. The workplace atmosphere might occasionally be the reason. Workplace stress, a lack of resources and support, and aggressive deadlines can all cause burnout.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.