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Employer focus firmly on retention

14 February 2006

Employer focus firmly on retention: You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone

Retention has become a major focus for employers, with almost half rating it ahead of compliance and recruiting talent, reflecting increasing concerns over the skills shortage and the importance of keeping the talent an organisation has.

In a survey of over 1,000 employers by specialist recruiter Hays, 43.18 per cent rated retention as the most important issue to their organisation in 2006. Compliance was considered most important by 29.28 per cent while recruiting talent was most important to 27.54 per cent.

“This result isn’t surprising given the ongoing skills shortage,” said Jason Walker, General Manager of Hays NZ. “Companies are using a variety of strategies to attract new talent, but it seems retaining them has now become more important to employers. With a candidate-driven market where skills at all levels are in demand, it is understandable that retention has become more important than ever – even rated above attracting talent.

“Career progression, the provision of new challenges, salary, training and development and strong management are all important elements of a retention strategy. Living up to employment branding is also essential – once you’ve attracted people based on a description of what it’s like to work for your company you need to make sure that description becomes reality,” Jason said.

“However, a retention plan cannot be approached with a ‘one size fits all’ mentality. One employee may value flexible hours, while for another it is the opportunity for career advancement. Meeting the needs of the whole workforce is essential, and an understanding of the differences between Generations Y, X and Baby Boomers will make this easier.

“It is fair to say the cost of replacing staff would also be a factor in this retention focus, as the average performing staff member costs around 90 per cent of their salary to replace,” said Jason.

For hints and tips on how to retain staff, view our previous reports on

1152 people were surveyed on Hays’ website


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