A concerning 46 per cent of Australian employees are being left out of pocket when it comes to work-related expenses, according to new research from DiviPay.
Published as Australia’s cost of living skyrockets, the digital expenses platform quizzed 1,000 Australians on their approach to handling work-related expenses, and in doing so, unearthed some alarming truths about the current state of expense management in Australia.
Its research recognised that in light of high inflation, the pandemic and increasing interest rates, workers are trying to get the most out of every penny they earn.
Despite this, the results found that 64 per cent of employees aged 45 years and over are left completely out of pocket when it comes to work-related spending.
One in five employees aren’t claiming back work-related expenses at all, with this creeping up to a quarter of all female employees.
As the country tightens its belt to stabilise the economy, and as the Reserve Bank of Australia hikes rates by 50 basis points to 0.85 per cent, why do staff continue to reach into their open pockets?
Job satisfaction at risk
The pandemic has only accelerated the problem, with the line between work and home expenses blurring. This has left many employees confused and frustrated as to what is and isn’t considered a corporate expense.
When employees were asked why they haven’t expensed an out-of-pocket purchase for a work item, hassle, complicated expense processing systems and lost receipts were all cited as top reasons
Many also included that they weren’t completely sure as to where their employer even allowed spending on their expenses, which was another reason why employees were failing to get their money back.
As the ‘war for talent’ plagues the workforce, holistic employee wellbeing has never been more important. Yet, the challenges faced around work reimbursements are leading to increased job dissatisfaction.
Just under half of the employees who have paid out of pocket for work-related expenses admit to feeling anxious or worried about getting their money back, while 36 per cent feel dissatisfied with their employer regarding reimbursements.
Speaking on the data and the current shake-up of Australia’s job market, the company’s CEO and founder Daniel Kniaz explains how new and emerging opportunities for the country’s workforce have “many Aussies re-evaluating their careers, current workplaces and future prospects.”
In regards to how employers can better retain talent, Kniaz recognises that having an employee value proposition (EVP) has become “essential to attract and retain workers.”
However, he also points out that workplace benefits alone are not enough, and adds that “ensuring employees aren’t out of pocket, or worse, are never reimbursed, should not be overlooked.
“We’re not talking about just money here, but how employees feel about their company and their role in the organisation.”
Russell Martin, the company’s co-founder and CTO, interposes with: “I’ve met with many CEOs and CFOs in my time and there’s definitely a disconnect when it comes to the importance of a streamlined expense management process.
“Employee wellbeing and job satisfaction have catapulted up the priority list with many companies offering a myriad of perks to bolster culture, engagement, trust and productivity – yet somehow work reimbursements seem to slip the net.
“Our research has shown that employees are experiencing high levels of anxiety when claiming back work expenses but this is something that is easily fixable. Having a robust, easy-to-use platform for corporate claims may seem like a small initiative but it can make all the difference to an employee’s job satisfaction and will be crucial for employee retention.”