SYDNEY, March 21 (Xinhua) -- A new report has found that Australian workers are exhausted, unwell, at risk of quitting and largely unprepared for future workplace challenges driven by automation and artificial intelligence (AI).
The report, released on Monday by the University of Melbourne, involved 1,400 Australian workers fielded in June 2022, who were asked about their experiences at work since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the report, 38 percent of the workers said they suffered a chronic illness, higher than the 32 percent found in the most recent Australian census in 2021, while discrimination remains pervasive at work, particularly against women, chronic illnesses patients, caregivers and indigenous groups.
At the height of the pandemic between 2020 and 2021, one in five Australians felt "depressed and anxious" all the time, which captured "a significant increase" in the proportion of workers reporting mental stress.
As for prime-aged workers, one in two Australians aged between 18 to 54 feel exhausted at work and they are two times more likely to feel like they don't have enough time at work to do everything they need to do, compared to older workers aged 55 and above.
The report warned that Australian businesses are at risk of losing some of their critical workforce, as one in three prime-aged workers are considering quitting their jobs.
Besides, the diffusion of AI, the rise of automation and the expansion of the gig economy also cast a shadow over the workers' career future.
The report showed that seven and 11 percent of Australia's jobs are estimated to be lost to automation, which equates between 630,000 to 2.7 million jobs.
"We found that most Australians aren't too worried about being replaced by AI and automation at work, and believe that their skills are adequate to meet the challenges ahead," said David Bissell, report co-author and professor at the University of Melbourne.
"However, our research shows that Australians are cautious adopters of new technologies in the workplace. One in five say they only adopt new technologies in the workplace when they are forced to, so we need to understand the reasons behind this and facilitate technology use that is inclusive to all," he added. ■