'Great resignation' coming to NZ: More people ponder quitting their job – Stuff

About half as many people are committed to sticking with their job this year compared with 2020, a survey shows, amid suggestions that the “great resignation” reported overseas could happen here, too.
Carried out over a year, AUT’s Wellbeing at Work study found the proportion of employees not considering leaving their jobs had halved, from 19.1 per cent in May 2020 to 9.2 per cent in April this year.
The survey category of people with “high turnover intentions”, that is those who were keen to change jobs, increased about 10 percentage points from 34.7 per cent to 46.4 per cent.
The survey was of 1042 people.
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AUT business school professor Dr Jarrod Haar​ said the results were a warning of a “great resignation”.
He said while the term had been used in America so far, it was in line with what could happen here due to issues such as closed borders and personal reflection on wellbeing in a Covid-19 environment.
“Drivers for the increase in people saying they were open to changing jobs were how much someone liked their job and pay level, and another was about what other employment opportunities existed for them,” Haar ​said.
“Last year roughly half of those surveyed felt they had some decent job opportunities available to them. But this perception had risen to 66 per cent by April,” he said.
Haar said the findings should alarm employers and further incentivise them to look after and retain their current employees.
“The findings suggest the great resignation may well be happening in New Zealand.
“Holding on to current employees and looking after their wellbeing is key to keeping the Kiwi work force, economy and society at large as healthy as possible in these pandemic times.”
The survey found labourer and factory workers were the most likely to consider leaving, at 64 per cent, then health and support services at 55 per cent, sales and customer service and retail next at 52 per cent followed by tourism, trades and information technology.
The survey also analysed levels of job anxiety.
“Growing numbers of the work force feel they are getting less enjoyment from their work, but they also describe the racing and spinning of their minds since the first Covid-19 lockdown,” Haar​ said.
Job recruitment websites Trade Me​ and Seek report there are more jobs advertised since the borders closed.
Recruitment company Robert Walters consultant Sindy Ward​ said skilled job hunters were in the driver’s seat to negotiate better pay and perks.
Other perks like a car park and an entry bonus were on the table when pay could not go up any further, Ward said.
Director of Auckland-based Human Focus Consulting Frances Bearne​ said employers needed to act quickly to keep valued staff satisfied.
Bearne​ said she worked with an Auckland client who had a warehouse operation and was facing multiple resignations. He managed to convince one person to stay, and was working on strategies to keep others.
“The days of just supplying a fruit bowl are over, and retaining staff is about offering better training, pay, work-life balance and flexibility,” Bearne said.
She said she coached companies to develop tailored and personal incentive strategies to keep their “must have” staff and then form strategies to keep the next most essential personnel, which, if they were lost to another company, would be a significant loss.
“New Zealanders in lockdown have had time to think about their values and lives, and employers are having to review their talent strategies.”
The AUT study found that the group with the highest intentions to quit their job were under-30-year-olds at 48 per cent followed by the 31 to 50-year-old group at 42 per cent, then 20 per cent for the group above 50 years old.
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