The Australian cities where people are most often late for work

Angus Kidman 3 June 2016 NEWS


Surprisingly, Sydney is not at the top of the list for latecomers.

Getting to work on time is always a challenge. If you drive or use the bus, the traffic is unpredictable, and frequently not moving. If you're taking a train, then squeezing onto a rush-hour service can be tricky (as I've been learning this week). Sometimes it's just impossible to get out of bed. But just how badly late does all this make us?

Workforce management software company Deputy analysed 400,000 shifts over six months in five major cities across Australia. The result? A whopping 40% of us are regularly late to the office. Perhaps that's why it's so hard to get a pay rise.

That headline figure conceals some big variations. Here are the results for the five cities, showing what percentage of people were late overall, and also breaking down the figures by gender:

In every city, men are late to work more often than women. However, we shouldn't necessarily read too much into that. The workforce participation rate is 78.3% for men and 65.1% for women, so the gap could largely be explained by workplaces having a higher proportion of male staff.

What is surprising is that Adelaide comes at the top of the list. As a regular visitor to that fine city, I can confirm that its version of a traffic jam looks positively benign compared to the horrors that drivers in Sydney and Melbourne regularly face.

Perhaps that's the problem. Everyone in Adelaide knows that it generally won't be an issue to get to work, so there's a big incentive to hit the snooze button. In Sydney (and I'm sure elsewhere), leaving home five minutes late can add an hour to your journey time.

The ideal employer is one that doesn't stress about whether you're at work at exactly 9am anyway. Admittedly, though, that's not an approach that's going to work if you're an air traffic controller.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on

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