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Public Service Commission

Understanding burnout in the NSW public sector

Burnout occurs when there is an imbalance between the demands of a job and the resourcing to do that job. In 2022, we measured burnout in the People Matter Employee survey (PMES) across the public sector for the first time. 

Key survey results

  • 38% of sector employees felt burned out at work.
  • 28% of employees had a neutral response which implies a substantial proportion of employees are at risk of burning out. 
  • 34% of employees indicated they did not feel burned out at work. 
  • 48% of frontline workers were experiencing burnout. 

What is burnout?

Use this factsheet to understand how burnout is defined, how it is measured in the PMES and why you should value wellbeing in the workplace.

Download the factsheet

Burnout leads to a decline in an individual’s overall wellbeing and significantly impacts their performance, job satisfaction, and overall quality of life. Research conducted by Gallup found that burnt out employees are:

  • 63% more likely to take sick days.
  • 2.6 times as likely to be actively job searching.
  • Half as likely to discuss how to approach performance goals with their manager. 
  • 23% more likely to visit a hospital’s emergency department.
  • 13% less confident about their performance. 

On an organisational level, burnout can result in:

  • decreased productivity
  • increased absenteeism 
  • higher turnover rates 
  • reduced employee engagement.

Burnout in the NSW public sector

To help you understand and address burnout rates and risks, we have undertaken extensive research to develop the Understanding burnout in the NSW public sector report.

The report will help increase your understanding of what is driving burnout in the sector and provide you with guidance on how to effectively address and mitigate the risk of burnout in your agency. 

The 3 universal key drivers of burnout for the public sector are:

  1. Time to do my job well.
  2. Support to do my job well.
  3. Access to effective resources in the organisation to support employee wellbeing.

Our report will help your agency address rates of burnout and include key actions you can take like investing in people managers, promoting workplace cultures that values wellbeing, and offering adequate employee assistance programs. 

Understanding burnout in the in the NSW public sector report

Understanding burnout in the in the NSW public sector report   

Download a copy of the full report.