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Employee loyalty at an all time low: survey

11 July 2006

Employee loyalty at an all time low, survey reveals

Employers are being urged to focus on retaining their staff after a survey found that employee loyalty is at an all-time low.

The survey, conducted by online recruitment website, revealed that 26 per cent of respondents would change jobs at the drop of a hat. It also found that a further 29 per cent of those surveyed would move jobs for a better salary and 34 per cent would move for career development.

SEEK is the largest recruitment website in New Zealand and recorded over 250,000 unique visitors in June. General Manager Ken Leeming says with the unemployment rate at record lows of 3.9 per cent and a labour force of 2,194,000, employers need to be urgently implementing effective retention practices in a job market where the balance of power is now held by the workers.

“This lack of employee loyalty should be seen as a huge concern to employers who are faced with a tight employment market and employees that are ready to walk off the job for the next best thing that comes along. Roles have become extremely hard to fill and that’s not even taking into account the burden of time and huge cost of the recruitment process,” says Mr Leeming.

HR Consultancy Hewitt’s Best Employers in Australia and New Zealand study 2005* found that the average direct cost to employers to replace an employee was estimated at $15,000. The study also found 75% of organisations were experiencing a talent shortage with 52% of employees often thinking about leaving their current organisation to work elsewhere and 45% of employees believing it wouldn't take a lot to get them to leave their current organisation.

“In a candidate-short market, it’s essential that employers do everything they can to hold on to their staff. Employers need to make sure their employees are receiving sufficient growth opportunities, are being rewarded effectively and are made to feel valued by their organisation,” says Mr Leeming.

He says the findings will be particularly relevant for SMEs, which make up over 96 per cent of New Zealand’s businesses.

“Small business will want to do everything they can to avoid the costly process of replacing employees.

Mr Leeming says the survey’s findings also clearly indicate the significant role the internet plays in the recruitment market.

“The internet has markedly changed the way today’s mobile workforce looks for new jobs. It has become far more passive, with people easily able to monitor the market whether actively seeking a new job or not. While passively searching they may find an opportunity that is simply too good to pass up,” says Mr Leeming.

* Hewitt's Best Employers in Australia and New Zealand study 2005 draws on data from 160 Australian and New Zealand organisations and 40,000 employees. Best Employers represent those organisations that effectively engage their employees and align their people practices to their strategy, achieving better business results. More information about the study can be found on


SEEK Survey Results

Q: How loyal are you to your current employer?

I am very happy and would not dream of moving 3%
I would be reluctant to move 7%
I’d happily move for career development 34%
I’d happily move for a better salary 29%
I’d happily move at the drop of a hat 26%

* Based on June 2006 online survey data from a sample size of 500 people on

Top five roles currently receiving the highest number of job applications

Sales Rep/Consultant - Sales and Marketing
Retail Sales Assistant - Retail and Consumer Products
Help Desk/Support - IT&T
Customer Service - Call Centre/Customer Service
Administration roles

Bottom five roles currently receiving the least number of job applications

Trademark/Patent Attorney - Legal
Services/Consultancy - Primary Industry
Loss Prevention - Retail & Consumer Products
Landscape Architecture - Construction
Army - Government/Defence

Data source

About SEEK
SEEK is New Zealand’s largest recruitment website and the most popular choice for advertisers searching for the right candidate, and job seekers looking for the right job. SEEK has more jobs online than any other New Zealand website, online training and certification tools, career development advice and much more. SEEK was awarded 'Best Employment Website' in the New Zealand NetGuide Web Awards in both 2003 and 2004. For more information please visit

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