Oct 01, 2021

Essential workers increasingly considering changing jobs because of COVID-19


Nearly one fifth of essential workers in education, emergency services and healthcare have considered changing their job because of the pandemic, a figure that has increased by 5% since May, to 19%. This growing number represents around 760,000 essential workers across Australia who could be at risk of leaving their front line profession.[i]

 New research commissioned by Hiver, a new digital-only, member-owned bank exclusively for essential workers, sought to quantify the stories being told on-the-ground by essential workers, including nurses, teachers, paramedics and police.

Concerningly, Hiver’s research found that during the pandemic the majority of essential workers have experienced threats to their personal safety at work (58%) and are reporting greater difficulty looking after their own mental health as the pandemic continues (65%). Most essential workers are finding it harder to cope with the pandemic in 2021 compared to last year (62%).

Research findings about healthcare workers:

  • 20% of healthcare workers are considering a change of job due to the pandemic 
  • 55% of healthcare workers have felt it harder to fulfil their role because of COVID-19
  • 25% struggled to make ends meet during the pandemic

Essential workers overall:

  • 19% of essential workers have considered changing their job because of the pandemic (representing approx. 760,000 workers)
  • 58% have experienced threats to their personal safety at work
  • 65% have reported greater difficulty looking after their own mental health as the pandemic continues
  • Essential workers are experiencing cost of living pressures and are finding it challenging to plan for the future, from securing a home loan to finding appropriate child care.

In Victoria and New South Wales, where stricter and lengthier lockdowns have been implemented because of Delta variant outbreaks, almost 80% of essential workers reported that they have found it harder to fulfil their roles on the front line this year, in comparison to 2020. This is a significantly different experience to essential workers in other states, where only around 38% found their jobs harder to fulfil in 2021. 

 Carolyn Murphy, Chief Digital Bank Officer of Hiver, said, “We know the responsibilities that essential workers are taking on are more intense than ever because of the pandemic. The people who face-up to the very personal impacts of COVID-19 on a daily basis are telling us they are nearing breaking point.” 

 “As the pandemic goes on, if we are expecting to continue our reliance on essential workers, we need to look carefully at how we can provide meaningful support in their lives.” 

 “We are concerned to see that nearly half (41%) of essential workers aged 18-34 are finding it difficult to get affordable housing close to their work, which we believe could assist in reducing stress and improving the mental wellbeing of many of our front line workers.” 

 “Hiver is a bank that was designed specifically for essential workers, to give them financial opportunities that are harder to come by from other institutions. By undertaking this research and quantifying the types of pressure this critical group of Australians is under, we hope to offer further insights about what can be done to address their individual needs so that they can comfortably remain in their valued professions.” 

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