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Key Findings and Methodology

A snaphot of the report's key findings and how we got there.

Stress and work

More than half (55%) of employees feel stressed at work. Personal finances tops the list as the main source of stress, followed by work and health (themselves/their family). Of the top five sources of financial stress, three relate to retirement.

Happiness in the workplace

Nearly three-quarters (71%) of employees see themselves as happy. The research revealed that happy employees are more productive, engaged, satisfied and demonstrate greater loyalty towards their employer. Having balance between work and home life identified as the main driver.

Diversity, inclusion and belonging

There is a disconnect between employers and employees when it comes to intangibles driving a sense of belonging in the workplace, such as the ability to speak out without fear of retribution and the role of diversity and inclusion programs, particularly for younger aged cohorts.

A sense of purpose

Nearly all (93%) employees consider purpose as a must have or nice to have, yet only two thirds (68%) feel a strong sense of purpose when working. Employees who feel a sense of purpose are more likely to feel productive, engaged and successful.

The meaning of purpose

Purpose for employees means different things according to demographics. For some it might be a sense of achieving their day-to-day tasks and employers can do more to help create this sense of achievement.

Acknowledgement and appreciation

By acknowledging the value employees bring to organisations, employers can foster a deep sense of purpose. However, employers need to bridge a gap between what they think they are doing to make sure employees know they are appreciated, and how employees actually feel.

Flexibility is a key benefit

Flexible working arrangements (including hours, location, roles) identified as the key ‘must have’ employee benefit, followed by training and development, and additional paid time off/annual leave. Life insurances such as Total and Permanent Disability (TPD), Income Protection (IP) also rated as key benefits, however only 6 in 10 employees understand how they work.

Upskilling and staff retention

Upskilling and staff retention tops the list of employer challenges, followed by the increased employee demand for work/life flexibility. While training and development is a must-have for employees, ensuring the workforce is adequately trained is the third highest challenge for employers and only 50% report offering relevant training today.

Access to financial planning

Support for financial wellness is rising in importance, particularly for younger aged cohorts, however many employers are not seeing how a few benefit strategies can make a big difference in an employees life. 72% of employees want access to financial planning workshops or tools but only 31% of employers are currently offering this as a benefit.

Communicate benefits clearly

The best way for employers to educate their employees would be to outline what benefits are available to them via one-on-one consultations (both when onboarded and ongoing), supported by a handbook.


  • Two distinct employer and employee surveys conducted between 4–9 July 2019
  • Questions based off latest 2019 MetLife U.S. Employee Benefits Trends Study, however localised for Australian market
  • The employee survey included 1,016 respondents, including a mix of full-time and part-time employees, aged 18 and over, at Australian based companies with at least two employees, while the employer survey included 318 respondents with benefits decision makers and influencers at Australian based companies with at least two employees
  • A full breakdown of responses is provided at the end of this report. Research conducted in collaboration with independent research partners, Little Triggers

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Supporting Employee's Whole Selves

The workplace has changed dramatically in the last 25 years. In Chapter One, we look at the trends redefining how we work and the need for employers to adapt in order to attract and retain employees.

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Employee Benefits Trends Study 2019: Thriving in the New Work-Life World has been prepared by MetLife Insurance Limited, ABN 75 004 274 882 AFSL 238 096 (MetLife) and should not be published or reproduced without the prior permission of MetLife. Whilst care has been taken in preparing this material, MetLife does not warrant or represent that the information, opinions or conclusions contained in this document (“information”) are accurate. The information provided in the report and on this website is general information only, current as at the time of production. 

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