Full-time employees want to work 8 fewer hours each week
A majority of all full-time employees struggle to balance work-home life and want less work - up to eight fewer hours a week, according to the fifth Australian Work and Life Index.
Almost a quarter of full-time working women find work frequently interferes with family or other commitments, while two thirds feel they are always under chronic time pressure and more than half take work home, it revealed.
Overall, employees in education, accommodation, food services and retail fare worst, while those in media, mining and transport have the best balance.
The report paints a picture of a workforce putting in longer hours, under tighter deadlines, dissatisfied with working conditions but rarely requesting relief from employers.
Produced by UniSA's Centre for Work+Life, the 2012 report gives Australian workers a work-life index score of 43 out of 100.
Women working full-time scored 50.7, the worst outcome since the first index in 2007.
Report author and centre director Professor Barbara Pocock said the report showed while women had long been disproportionately affected by the dual demands of work and domestic roles it was "not getting easier".
"We know this is now an old conversation but we're actually finding this harder and harder. This survey tells us that there is a significant proportion of Australians who believe they're working really hard, they've got too much work to do and they're under pressure a lot of the time," the Courier Mail quoted her as saying.
"It raises questions about productivity and how we maintain a workforce among an ageing population. How do we create workloads which are reasonable (and) which can be conducted within reasonable hours?" she noted.
The report, for which 2887 people were surveyed nationally, also found:
28 percent of workers work more than 48 hours a week and most are men.
While 40 percent feel they are under tight deadlines most of the time, a third frequently have too much work for one person.
The average full-time employee wants 7.2 hours less work per week, while women in full-time jobs want 8.7 hours less.
Organisational psychologist for PKF chartered accountants, Scott Way, said longer working hours was "compounded by job intensity" but many workers were reluctant to ask for more flexible working arrangements.
In 2010 the Federal Government gave parents of pre-school-aged children or those aged under 18 with a disability the legal right to request flexible working hours.
But the 2012 Index found only around a third of eligible workers were aware of this right.
Deakin University job stress and wellbeing expert Associate Professor Andrew Noblet said long working hours or high-stress jobs could affect physical and mental health, relationships with family and friends, job performance and workplace safety.