Can we quantify the number of Australian employees who are at risk of injury from workplace bullying?

I asked myself this question with the knowledge that I am no mathematician. Yet, I decided to give it a go based on the following data.

According to the ABS, in February 2018 the number of employed Australians was 12,480,500.

The rate of Australians who reported being target with workplace bullying in a six month period was 9.4%. This was reported Australian Workplace Barometer Project 2014/15.

So what is 9.4% of 12,480,500?

1,173,167

That’s more than one million of Australian employees at risk of workplace bullying injury. They are our partners, children, grandchildren, mothers, fathers, friends and colleagues.

What if we take it a step further? According to Safe Work Australia data, in 2016 a typical payment for workplace bullying claims was \$22600. The average time off work per claim was 9.4 weeks.

If all of those employees at risk made a typical claim payment and were time off work for the average claim, the collective claim comes to \$26,513,574,200 and 212,072 years off work. Ironically, these figures are not as ludicrous as it sounds. In 2012 the Australian Productivity Commission estimated that workplace bullying costs between \$6 billion and \$36 billion per year.

Workplace bullying present a serious and significant personal injury risk to too many Australians. Our economy stands to lose massive amounts of productivity and money.

I am sure someone can poke a lot of holes in my numbers based on a range of factors.

But let’s be honest, one person injured is one too many.

And it makes you think about the true cost of workplace bullying, doesn’t it?