Melbourne Cup racegoers will be relieved to know that ‘chucking a sickie’ during this year’s carnival will not impact their career progression.
Psychometric testing company Onetest surveyed 2,851 Australian graduate program applicants across a range of industries and then re-surveyed these individuals up to ten years later to track how their lifestyle choices had impacted their progression.
Onetest Head of Psychology Cherie Curtis said because the humble ‘sickie’ was a known Australian tradition, questions about the number of non-genuine sick days taken by participants were added and measured against the rate of termination and promotion.
“We’ve been exploring the outcomes of people who had entered the workforce and investigated the influence of various lifestyle choices on career outcomes like satisfaction and progression,” Ms Curtis said.
“We found a very weak relationship between termination and sickies taken and discovered a mere .039 correlation between the two.
“We also discovered a .034 correlation between the number of sickies taken and an employee’s rate of promotion.
“These correlations are too weak to conclude that ‘chucking a sickie’ will have much of an impact on an employee’s career progression.”
The study also revealed strong relationships between the rate of sickies taken and the dissatisfaction and industry of participants surveyed.
“We found that participants who reported feeling dissatisfied with life were 48 per cent more likely to ‘chuck a sickie’ compared to those who were satisfied with life,” Ms Curtis said.
“We found that employees of the environment industry and marketing and sales industry reported taking the most number of non-genuine sick days, reporting averages of .43 and .41 sickies respectively within the last twelve months.
“Employees of the defence industry reported taking the least number of non-genuine sick days (.14).”
A recent report by absence management firm Direct Health Solutions found that ‘sickies’ cost the Australian economy an average of $28 billion per year.
Ms Curtis said because of the financial toll that absenteeism can take on a company, Onetest utilised integrity tests to screen applicants with lenient attitudes towards these counterproductive behaviours.
“By assessing attitudes toward these behaviours, employers can identify individuals who are less likely to be absent from work, more likely to contribute positively to the culture and will display reliable behaviour within the workplace.”
Further findings from the study – exploring the impact of formal graduate programs on career progression are available in the Onetest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2012.