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This week in HR: How to spot a workaholic, top 10 pay increases by job, and employers tired of hybrid childcare duties

By Nick Wilson | |7 minute read

Over the past few days, the HR world has seen a sweeping range of new research on all kinds of topics. Choosing just a few is never easy, but we’re spotlighting headlines on workaholism, pay increases, and childcare duties for hybrid workers.

The signs of workaholism that HR leaders ‘can’t afford not to know’

Anywhere from 12 to 15 per cent of the working population suffers from work addiction, “an uncontrollable inner compulsion to work excessively hard,” said Audrey McGibbon, chartered occupational psychologist and co-founder of EEK and SENSE.

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“The legal profession, finance, health service sectors and those working as entrepreneurs have particularly pronounced levels of work addiction,” said Ms McGibbon. “They’ve been identified at around 25 per cent.”

This past week, HRM asked how workaholism is present in a workplace and what HR leaders should be doing.

“Those working in HR can’t afford to not know this stuff. We’re constantly talking about burnout, but burnout is the outcome of unmanaged chronic work-related stress, and work addiction often underpins both stress and burnout. If we’re measuring burnout, it’s already too late,” she said.

There are individual and cultural factors that can indicate a predisposition to workaholism. The individual workaholic is more likely to be an extroverted perfectionist who struggles to delegate. In terms of mood, workaholics are likely to have a more pessimistic disposition or are more critical of themselves or others.

HR leaders, Ms McGibbon said, should be aware of cultural factors that might be contributing to work addiction: “Is it an environment where there’s a high workload? Are they working within really short deadlines? Is it an environment where hard work and long hours are rewarded?”

“These factors immediately heighten the risk, so that’s where an HR manager should be on high alert,” she added.

Apart from identifying a need to stop glorifying busyness, Ms McGibbon said the solution would involve finding ways to integrate wellness into employee workflow. Keeping an eye out for the signs of overwork and work addiction is a crucial, ongoing step.

Which jobs got the biggest pay increases this year?

As reported by the Australian Financial Review (AFR), Mercer released the findings of its Total Remuneration Survey, which found employers increased base salaries by a median of 4 per cent in 2022–2023. This was above the expected 3 per cent increases in salaries, resulting from a tighter labour market forcing companies to be competitive with their pay.

The following 10 jobs received the greatest annual pay rises:

  1. General project engineering (19 per cent)
  2. Customer relationship management (18 per cent)
  3. IT software development and operations (18 per cent)
  4. Market research and analysis (14 per cent)
  5. General equipment repair (13 per cent)
  6. Industrial machinery mechanic (12 per cent)
  7. Civil/construction/structural engineering (11 per cent)
  8. Information systems security (11 per cent)
  9. Electrical engineering (11 per cent)
  10. IT, telecom and internet generalists (10 per cent)

Of the above, all were entry-level positions except for customer relationship management, which saw the greatest pay rises at the senior level. According to AFR, experts anticipate that pay increases will be more moderate moving forward as the economy slows and skills shortages are addressed.

“[Employers] are starting to divert their resources and their total rewards thinking to retention as opposed to just attraction,” said Cynthia Cottrell, leader of Mercer Pacific’s workforce consulting and products business.

According to the report, flexible work arrangements, learning and development programs, incentive pay, and retention awards are some ways staff retention can be promoted.

Parenting on the job: Balancing hybrid work with childcare

Eighty-seven per cent of UK’s hybrid workers are regularly caring for kids while working from home, reported the Daily Mail. Further, 85 per cent of hybrid employees are working in the same room as their kids.

Employers have claimed that juggling work and parenting simultaneously has placed heightened pressures on their work and warned that it could contribute to an “unsafe care environment for children”.

The integration of childcare with work, employers have claimed, has contributed to a “two-tiered” system within businesses as “half the workforce believe the world is still in 2020 with handouts being offered for doing very little”.

The problem is only compounded by the increasingly unaffordable cost of childcare – particularly in Australia, where childcare services are less affordable than in almost all comparable countries.

RELATED TERMS

Burnout

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.

Hybrid working

In a hybrid work environment, individuals are allowed to work from a different location occasionally but are still required to come into the office at least once a week. With the phrase "hybrid workplace," which denotes an office that may accommodate interactions between in-person and remote workers, "hybrid work" can also refer to a physical location.

Nick Wilson

Nick Wilson

Nick Wilson is a journalist with HR Leader. With a background in environmental law and communications consultancy, Nick has a passion for language and fact-driven storytelling.