Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORKPLACE / DEC. 25, 2014
version 5, draft 5

Are Younger Employers More Likely To Pull A Sickie

It’s hard to think of a generation that’s had more written about it than the current millennial generation. Page after page has hit the presses suggesting that they will revolutionise the workplace, both for good and for bad. They have, for instance, been labelled the digital native generation and as such are charged with heralding a new dawn of more enlightened working. Old fashioned concepts like going to the office 9-5 will be consigned to the dustbin as they begin to work whenever and wherever they want.

I’m rather skeptical over just how influential this generation will be in that regard. For example, studies suggest, that millennials don’t actually mind a bit of hierarchy in their organisations, just so long as the hierarchy treats people fairly.

Of course, not all of the research around the millennial cohort has been complementary.  A recent survey conducted by researchers at the University of Melbourne found that younger employees were more likely to try and pull a sickie than their older peers.

The Future of Work study was published by the Centre for Workplace Leadership and set out to measure just how Australian employees viewed the work they did each day.  Participants were asked, for instance, whether particular colleagues are more likely to try and phone in sick or whether particular colleagues tended to look forward to each working week.

Do older workers really enjoy work more than younger ones?

The results have some fascinating implications for both employees and managers alike. For instance, a fascinating trend emerged around the kind of employee that found work enjoyable.

"The people less likely to fake a sick day were workers over 45 years old or in executive and senior management positions. These more senior employees were also more likely to look forward to returning to work after their weekend," the researchers revealed.

The study also revealed that those in full time roles were much more likely to try and pull a sickie than their part time colleagues.  What’s more, this group was also less enthusiastic about their work.

"The results show that if you take a sickie, you’re less likely to look forward to going to work on a Monday," the researchers continue. "This may imply that people who take ’mental health days’ do so because they feel disgruntled at work, and that those who work part-time are more enthusiastic about returning to work."

A management divide

Whilst those in management were shown to look forward to work each week, their team were often much less enthusiastic. Whilst just 19 percent of managers revealed dread of coming in each Monday, this figure rose to 42 percent for employees in total. What’s more, the figures seem to get worse the lower down the organisation you go.

"There are also warning bells for middle managers," the researchers warn. "Thirty-six percent of middle managers admit to faking a sick day in the past twelve months and forty-seven percent believe that their counterparts are being paid more than they are."

The results provide a telling replication of the famous Whitehall Studies, which revealed that the health, happiness and even life expectancy of British civil servants rose tremendously the higher up the organisation they were.

Despite all the rhetoric about the changing world of work, that truism seems to be holding firm.

Do you think that young people are more likely to fake a sick day? Your thoughts and comments below please?


Image: iStock

Get our FREE eBook!
'6 Steps to Landing Your Next Job'





More Kids, More Productivity; Employers Take Note!
WORKPLACE / NOV 06, 2014

A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank shows that mothers outperformed their childless peers at every stage of their job. The study further revealed that mothers with...

How to Handle a Younger Boss at Work
WORKPLACE / APR 17, 2014

There may come a time in your career when you will work for someone younger than you are – sometimes even obviously younger. Try your best to help your young boss to get...

Could Wearable Devices Be Putting An End To Sickies?
WORKPLACE / MAY 27, 2015

I’m sure many of us either have ourselves, or know someone else that has pulled a sickie at some point in our careers.  Indeed, estimates suggest that around 1/3 of...

Why You're More Productive When Your Employer Is Philanthropic
WORKPLACE / JAN 14, 2015

I’ve written about before that when employees volunteer for good causes they tend to come back to work more engaged and productive. Interestingly, however, the same seems...

ex machina
WORKPLACE / SEP 19, 2015

Have you become robotic in the workplace? Are you dragging yourself to work each morning with no sense of excitement because it’s just another day at the office? You’re...

The Walking Dead
WORKPLACE / SEP 18, 2015

A bacterial colony is a cluster of invisible to the naked eye single-celled organisms. Also known as microbial colonies, a large accumulation of these organisms can make...

Get our FREE eBook!
'6 Steps to Landing Your Next Job'
G up arrow