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Minority workers among the worst affected by poor workplace wellbeing

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

A recent study has found that minorities have the poorest workplace wellbeing in the country, prompting the need for more support.

Coming off the back of R U OK? Day on 14 September, The B Well Coalition and Ipsos released Our State of Mind, a study analysing the state of wellbeing in Aussie workplaces.

According to the data, the majority are happy with their organisation’s approach to wellbeing, with 64 per cent of employees claiming their company has a positive mental wellbeing culture.


However, those with diverse backgrounds suffered more than others, with just 24 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, 23 per cent of those with physical or mental disability, 21 per cent of LGBTQIA+, and 17 per cent of women agreeing.

“It’s encouraging to see that Australian workers are generally satisfied and engaged at work, and most feel their workplace has a positive wellbeing culture. However, there is room for improvement,” commented Ipsos Australia chief executive Simon Wake.

“At a national level, there are high-priority areas to address, including the need for leaders to ensure they are following through on their promises, managing conflict effectively and supporting new ideas.”

The report revealed workers who had less control over their work environment were more likely to report poor wellbeing. Just 20 per cent of health and community service workers, 19 per cent of public sector workers, 17 per cent of those working at large organisations, and 7 per cent of directors, founders, and chief executives feel their workplace wellbeing culture is positive.

Mr Wake continued: “Interestingly, the report shows that while feeling satisfied in a role and working conditions directly impact mental wellbeing culture, they are not as influential as leadership. We have to ensure our organisations are leading from the top to create a strong wellbeing culture across the board.”

Areas that could use improvement are conflict management and employee validation. Just 39 per cent agreed that their employer manages conflict well, and 40 per cent said their input in decision making was valued.

Ipsos director Sally Braidwood outlined: “Poor mental wellbeing costs Australian businesses more than $5.6 billion in productivity each year. Stress, anxiety, and depression are just a few of the challenges that employees face, and organisations are increasingly recognising the importance of creating a culture that supports mental wellbeing.”

Aligning workers with the organisation is a great way to boost value, said the report. According to 50 per cent of respondents, a great way to do so is through bettering the work environment. Meanwhile, 25 per cent said company image and 24 per cent said values and ethics were great ways to do so.

On the other hand, some areas that hindered alignment were lack of employee appreciation at 25 per cent, poor communication at 25 per cent, and poor company strategy at 29 per cent. These ideas stem from leadership, and these themes need to be engaged from the top.

The B Well Coalition director Lee Crockford said: “Our State of Mind squarely highlights the role that leadership plays in fostering mentally healthy workplaces. With seven out of the top 10 drivers of mental wellbeing culture falling within the domain of leadership, managers, C-suites, and boards have a critical role to play.”



Disability is a persistent condition that limits an employee's capacity to carry out routine tasks. It refers to anything permanent or likely to be permanent, may be chronic or episodic, is attributable to intellectual, mental, or physical impairment, and is likely to require continuous support services.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.