Local Government Magazine

The career waka jumping trend

A recruitment report [2019]  iterates how businesses and organisations are struggling with staff retention, with 66 percent saying it’s now harder to retain talent than last year, and 55 percent of businesses noticing an increase in employees changing jobs. Staff rewards, bonuses and perks have become critical to retaining talent.

The 2021/22 annual Beyond Recruitment Economic & Labour Report, produced by Kiwi-owned recruiting company Beyond Recruitment collated the responses of over 300 New Zealand business leaders across multiple sectors. Companies are seeing an acceleration of ‘career waka jumping’ here for better opportunities, unlike overseas where employees are more likely to resign for a break from paid work (dubbed the ‘great resignation).

Surveyed employers indicated that retaining talent is much harder now (66 percent) than it was 12 months ago, while over half (55 percent) witnessed an increase in their employees changing jobs.

“The competition for good talent is fierce,” says Liza Viz the chief executive of Beyond Recruitment.

“There is a clear talent shortage in New Zealand, but the borders opening up won’t help all businesses – Kiwis will see the border opening as an opportune time to move overseas for work and go on a delayed OE.

“This talent shortage creates a dynamic where if you don’t enjoy your job or your career, you can easily find work somewhere else. With the right skill set, you can even change careers to something you believe is more meaningful. Businesses are seeing a 30 percent year on year turnover rate, which anyone will tell you is too high.”

On the positive side, businesses are taking significant steps to reward and retain good workers, Viz adds.

In the 2020 survey the average company pay rises were about 1-2 percent, to climb slightly in 2021 to between two and three percent, keeping up with inflation.

“Keeping salaries and wages in line with inflation is another trend we expect to see as 2022 moves on,” says Viz.

In 2020, the report said finding ‘talent’ was the largest issue facing Kiwi organisations. In 2021 the problem got worse and rose from being the top issue for 46 percent of organisations in 2020, to 60 percent of organisations in 2021.

Kiwi business leaders say they are more intent on hiring permanent staff (62 percent) than contract or temporary staff (18 percent). The desire for permanent over gig workers rose from 38 percent last year to this year’s 62 percent.

Benefits and welfare

In terms of non-cash benefits, offering working from home (83 percent) and flexible work hours (82 percent) were the two most popular benefits in 2021. Rounding out the rest of the top five were company paid training (64 percent), mobile phone/allowance (59 percent), and health and/or life insurance (40 percent). This also represented a huge boost for insurance benefits as the 2020 results indicated that only 13 percent of companies were offering insurance as a benefit.

In terms of employee engagement businesses indicated they deploy a variety of ‘tactics’, with the most popular being flexible work arrangements (81 percent), followed by employee assistance programmes (EAPs–78 percent).

Health and wellness initiatives have become extremely popular and are now in use by 67 percent of companies surveyed. Stress management programmes (47 percent), and on-site food options (24 percent) were also popular. Only three percent of companies said they haven’t identified any engagement issues.

“We’ve seen that the requirements of the pandemic, and the mental and physical tolls it has taken on people, seriously shape the packages and benefits that workers want,” says Viz.

“While it’s no surprise that flexible work arrangements held the top spot, that it grew in popularity by 17 points is significant.

“The value of EAPs jumped a whopping 60 points on last year, health and wellness initiatives grew 39 points, and stress management programmes by 24 points. This really shows us how important wellness in the workplace has become, with so many new employers offering these options.

“Kiwi businesses need to know that it’s not just about pay, but also quality of life, and businesses that recognise this will attract and retain the best people.”

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