The State of Work in Australia study by Reventure, a new organisation specialising in faith and work research, conducted a demographically representative national survey of 1000 Australians, with 321 of the respondents identifying as church-going Christians.
The survey found that close to 100 per cent of evangelical Christians and 90 per cent of non-evangelical Christians said their faith helped them face challenges and issues in their jobs.
“With this part of the study, we focused in on Christian workers to examine their attitudes to the links between faith and work,” Reventure Managing Director Dr Lindsay McMillan said.
There was a higher degree of work satisfaction for Christians (51 per cent) than among other workers (44 per cent), with 63 per cent saying they enjoy going to work every day, compared to 53 per cent among other respondents.
Christian workers also expressed more satisfaction with their employment training, resources and coaching (60 per cent versus 52 per cent), and also reported more regularly receiving praise and recognition for their work (55 per cent versus 47 per cent).
The survey also found that Christians (66 per cent) were more at ease with the amount of stress in their lives than non-Christians (61 per cent)
“An unexpected outcome of the survey is that Christians generally have a higher physical health rating than their colleagues at 52 per cent versus 39 per cent,” Dr McMillan said.
Christian workers are also more likely to have much more positive mental health ratings with 59 per cent rating their mental health as excellent or very good as compared to 48 per cent for all workers.
In terms of work-life balance, 36 per cent of Christians said they are very satisfied with this compared to just 22 per cent of all workers.
Despite all these favourable correlations, the study shows that only 22 per cent of Christian workers feel confident about sharing the gospel in the workplace and 63 per cent do not feel very comfortable about talking about their faith.
The survey found there are many barriers to Christian workers feeling open about sharing their faith in the workplace, with many feeling it was not an appropriate topic.
“There was also concern about reactions to sharing faith,” Dr McMillan said.
“More than 20 per cent were worried about offending people, and 19 per cent were concerned about their colleagues making negative judgements about them.”
Christian workers tend to find other ways of expressing their faith in the workplace.
“They feel most confident about acting in ways that are ethically and morally sound,” said Dr McMillan.
“They also feel confident about speaking out on behalf of others, acting against injustice or demonstrating grace and peace.”
However, only 39 per cent of Christian workers feel that their faith would help them withstand temptation in the workplace.
Survey respondents said that churches are not providing sufficient teaching or resources to enable and equip them to talk about their faith in the workplace.
Only 40 per cent of Christian workers say their churches provide teaching or resources to help talk about their faith at work but a greater percentage (69 per cent) were positive about their churches’ contribution to helping them live out their faith in work hours.