Kiwi employers fear more than 340,000 workers could quit in 2018

New Zealand businesses have seen an increase in staff turnover in the past three years. Read more here.

  • New Zealand companies report that an average of 13% of their staff are currently leaving the organisation voluntarily. 
  • 58% of employers have seen an increase in staff turnover in the last three years. 
  • 99% have in place staff retention initiatives. 

New research from specialised recruiter Robert Half has found more than one in 10 (13%), or roughly over 340,000 workers based on the number of employed persons in New Zealand , are likely to seek a new job this year. Compounding this figure, the research has also found New Zealand businesses have seen an increase in staff turnover in the past three years.

More than half (58%) of New Zealand employers say they have seen an increase in staff turnover – defined as employees freely resigning – in the past three years with the average turnover currently standing at 13%. And despite the fact 99% of New Zealand firms currently have in place measures to avoid staff turnover, more than half (51%) of New Zealand’s managers say turnover within their organisation is expected to increase over the next 12 months – with 18% believing churn will be “significantly higher”. 

When looking at the measures New Zealand companies take to retain their employees, more than half (54%) have invested in training and professional development programs, while less than half have in place wellness programs (48%) and employee appreciation initiatives (43%). Only four in 10 (40%) regularly review salaries and little over one-third (37%) offer flexible working arrangements. Organisations are also missing out on valuable insights from their departing employees, with almost one in five (19%) conducting exit interviews.

Employee retention initiative   % of New Zealand businesses
Training and professional development programs 54%
Employee wellness programs  48%
Employee appreciation initiatives  43%
Regular salary reviews 40%
Flexible and/or remote working opportunities  37%
Regular performance reviews/feedback 35%
Clear communication of company purpose/goals 35%
Employee engagement initiatives 33%
Exit interviews 19%

Source: Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 300 hiring managers in New Zealand – multiple answers allowed. 

Megan Alexander, General Manager of Robert Half New Zealand said: “High levels of employee turnover can cause any company headaches in the form of not just lost productivity and revenue, but also increased stress levels and low morale for remaining staff. Because of this, it’s essential for companies to simultaneously make employee retention initiatives a top business priority and also secure a steady pipeline of skilled talent.”

“Every organisation’s success depends upon the strength of their staff which is why it is equally important for companies to have in place both a well-developed acquisition and retention policy.” 

“Employee retention initiatives are most successful if they include a mix of wellbeing and recognition programs, plus regular salary reviews and clear career pathways. Implementing these initiatives is highly beneficial for companies, as staff who are happy in their role enjoy higher levels of engagement, they tend to more productive and are more likely to stay with the organisation,” concluded Megan Alexander. 


About the research
The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted in December 2017 by an independent research firm, surveying 300 hiring managers in New Zealand. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.


Katherine Mills
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
P: +61 2 8028 7757
E: [email protected]