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Workers Vote With Their Feet - Employers Losing...

Employers losing fight for loyalty as workers vote with their feet

The results of an Employment Trends Survey released today show that New Zealand employers are still not doing enough to attract and retain staff in the tight labour market. Although 93% of employers say they know why staff leave their organisation, turnover remains high across the board and employers expect that finding and retaining staff will continue to be a key challenge in the year ahead.

More than half of respondents to the survey, commissioned by Select Australasia and Clayton Ford, indicated they were intending to increase their personnel numbers in 2005. Overwhelmingly respondents said staff retention was critical to their human resource strategy and that they are paying more attention to effective attraction and retention strategies. However, figures released by the Department of Labour on 17 June show that 21% of employers experienced an increase in staff turnover in the March 2005 quarter – the highest figure since 1985 (Source: Department of Labour, Skills in the Labour Market, 17 June 2005).

“Although employers recognise the difficulty of finding and retaining staff in the current market, they are still not meeting this challenge,” says Debbie Loveridge, Chief Executive of Select Australasia. “While it’s positive that employers are taking retention strategies seriously, ongoing high turnover suggests that their strategies are not yet addressing the issues most important to employees.”

Attractive pay and benefits (83%), personal development opportunities (83%), formal induction (87%) and structured learning and development programmes (78%) were the four retention strategies used most and valued most highly by employers. 63% of respondents also offer flexible working hours, and many others cited incentive schemes, job sharing, improving office morale and free parking among retention strategies in place. Only 22% of respondents offer staff hiring incentives.

“Employers may need to look more carefully at the marriage between what staff value and want, and the retention strategies they have in place,” says Ms Loveridge.

A positive indicator for relieving demand on the labour market is that most respondents value recruitment and retention strategies targeted at youth, Generation X and older workers. “We have been saying for some time that older workers are an untapped resource with huge potential benefits for the economy. The results suggest that finally employers are looking for people across the age spectrum which is a very practical way to address the candidate shortage,” says Ms Loveridge.

“Older workers are often overlooked despite being more experienced, highly productive, extremely loyal and having a strong work ethic. We always encourage our clients to look at a candidate’s skills and experience rather than their age and the survey results show that more and more employers are doing this.”

77% of respondents also said that they are investing in brand identity and 69% said that this investment has impacted on their ability to attract employees. “Clearly employers are taking a number of steps to attract and retain candidates, from their own employer identity to measures of direct benefit to employees,” says Ms Loveridge.

“The strong market means it is a great time to be an employee or a candidate, but it also means that employers need to be more strategic in their recruitment processes. Only the best and most astute employers will prosper in the current environment.”


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