Are we the hardest working nation?
The “Eight Hour Work Day” took root in Melbourne in the 1850s, giving Australia the bragging rights to call ourselves the first nation to implement a sustained then-48 hour work week – but does that make us the hardest workers?
A number of recent studies reveal that this probably isn’t the case, and one professor has even gone as far as calling this claim ‘absolute crap.’
"Over the last 10 years, the proportion of Australians working long hours has been dropping,"Professor Mark Wooden of the Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research told the Sydney Morning Herald. “People tend to overestimate how long they work as a sort of ‘badge of courage’ and find it difficult to estimate the hours they work accurately.”
Indeed, the number of hours worked rarely correlates to the amount of work actually completed, and another study cites productivity as the main culprit here.
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An October study released by Australian accounting firm Ernst & Young called the Australian Productivity Pulse surveyed nearly 2,500 workers and their bosses across the nation. Through their research, they found that almost a fifth of workers’ time is wasted while on the clock.
In financial terms, this lack of productivity cost the nation $109 billion in wasted wages this year – more than just a drop in the bucket when the total wages bill amounts to $606 billion a year.
“This means that every single day $320 million is lost in valueless work,” said Neil Plumridge, the firm’s Advisory Leader who led the quarterly survey, in a statement. “If we improve that by just 10 [per cent] the impact to Australia’s productivity would be tremendous.”
Mr Plumridge was quick to point out, however, that this does not make Australia a “nation of slackers.”
Logging an average 44-hour work week, Australian workers are among the hardest-working and most motivated in the developed world. The problem, according to the survey, is productivity.
“The hours are good and the intentions are good, but we found an incredible wastage once we all get to work... we simply can’t put the productivity issue down to personal motivation,” Mr Plumridge said.
Read more about Australia’s work productivity in the December issue of Business Review Australia, out this Friday.
Seo JungJin: Who is EY’s World Entrepreneur of 2021?
Seo JungJin, founder of biopharma firm Celltrion, which most recently developed an antibody treatment for COVID-19, has been named the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year 2021, becoming the first South Korean in the award’s 21-year history.
Regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year celebrates visionary and innovative leaders from across 60 countries who are transforming the world and fostering growth.
JungJin, who is now honoroary chairman of Celltrion Group, was up against a worthy cast of entrepreneurial competitors, taking the crown from among 45 award winners across 38 countries and territories.
Speaking during the virtual event, JungJin described his own interpretation of entrepreneurship as something that brings together “a group of people toward a common vision, embracing challenges as opportunities and committing oneself to contribute to the greater good”.
Why was JungJin crowned King Entrepreneur?
A South Korean native and now 63 years of age, JungJin founded biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion in 2003. In the nearly two decades since its founding, Celltrion has lived up to its goal of advancing health and welfare for all by developing ground-breaking drugs to treat autoimmune disease, various forms of cancer and, most recently, COVID-19.
The company, which JungJin started with just US$45,000 and five of his colleagues, has since growth to more than 2,1000 employees with sales permits in more than 90 countries and revenues exceeding US$1.69bn.
According to the panel, JungJin’s story is a shining example of the power of an unstoppable entrepreneur to change the world with the pandel moved by both his incredible story and his purpose-driven leadership, innovative mindset and entrepreneurial spirit.
Described by the chair of the EY judging panel Rosaleen Blair as “representing everything an unstoppable should be” from taking on the world’s biggest health care challenges to consistently creating long-term value for his company, JungJin’s story is one of incredible tenacity and perseverance that the judging panel felt most represented the entrepreneurial spirit.
“He’s taken breathtaking risks, both personal and professional, to found Celltrion and grow it into one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies,” says Stasia Mitchell, EY Global Entrepreneurship Leader. “His passion for creating affordable, life-saving health care and flair for tackling global problems has led to many treatments that have helped millions of people worldwide and was especially evident this past year through the creation of a COVID-19 antibody treatment.”
How did JungJin get there?
JungJin's entrepreneurial journey started at an early age when he worked as a taxi driver to get himself through Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea. After studying industrial engineering, he rose through the ranks of Daewoo Motor Co. before losing his job amid the carmaker’s financial troubles following the 1997 Asian economic crisis.
Following this, JungJin started collaborating with colleagues to explore business opportunities in different industries, though none delivered lasting success. The turning point came after he attended a talk hosted by renowned scholars, which inspired him to focus on the biopharmaceutical sector.
And so he founded Celltrion with just US$45,000 of his savings. The launch of Remsima, credited with being the world's first antibody biosimilar, quickly moved Celltrion up the ranks of the country's fairly underdeveloped pharmaceutical sector. Celltrion followed this success with the launch of drugs for breast cancer and lymphoma that today are being used worldwide.
With ambitions to be the world’s first in different areas, Celltrion has pioneered numerous uncharted areas to great success over the past two decades, most recently responding to the global pandemic by successfully developing an antibody treatment for COVID-19 and working to ensure a timely supply of the safe and effective treatment.
“When I first started, my vision was to help patients gain access to safe, effective and affordable medicines and thereby enhance the quality of people’s lives,” explains JungJin. “The success of Celltrion has enabled me to expand on this while finding new ways to fuel my entrepreneurial drive.”