INTOUCH : Addressing the Brain Drain

Less that one third of New Zealand employees are happy with their current job and if bosses want to keep hold of these staff pay rise is their best option, according to the Seek Satisfaction and Motivation Survey released last month.
The annual online survey, which collates over 1400 responses, found that the proportion of people saying they are unhappy at work jumped to 41 percent from 35 percent year ago, while further 29 percent stated that their feelings were “neutral”. This leaves just 30 percent of workers happy.
In another worrying sign for employers battling the tight labour market, 61 percent of Generation Y respondents said they intend to stay in their current job for less than year, as did 58 percent of Generation X and 50 percent of Baby Boomers.
Eighty percent of Generation Y workers and 78 percent of Generation X employees said the best way to retain them was to “pay me more”, followed by “reward individual performance” at 75 percent and 76 percent respectively. Baby Boomers also want their individual performance rewarded (67 percent) and to receive more pay (66 percent).
“The brain drain will continue unless employers look for ways to help their staff keep ahead of New Zealand’s increasing costs of living,” Annemarie Duff, Seek New Zealand general manager said.
“It’s easy to criticise Gen Y, in particular, for being money driven, but many graduates have uni debts worth thousands of dollars. Our society also pressures young people to save for their own home at time when they are trying to establish some financial independence.”
Duff said while money isn’t the key to happy work environment, employers do need to be realistic about understanding what motivates their people.
“Many companies are spending big bucks on staff career development programmes and elaborate corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. The fact of the matter is though, that these are not considered important by your average worker.”
The survey found that not having CSR programme is deal breaker for only 13 percent of employees. Sixty-eight percent of employees said it wasn’t deciding factor in choosing what company they work for and 19 percent said it wasn’t important to them at all. Improvements to training and development programmes are also not valued by the majority of employees, Duff said.
“What this survey says loud and clear is that employers need to get back to basics and realise that the cost of living is major issue for many workers. Unless this is addressed the brain drain is likely to continue. Different generations also have different expectations, desires, dreams and commitments so one size fits all approach is not going to be enough to retain staff in tight employment market,” said Duff.

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