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Contented Kiwis: job satisfaction in New Zealand

Contented Kiwis: job satisfaction in New Zealand

With the festive season around the corner, many of New Zealand’s workers will be looking forward to taking some well-deserved leave. But judging by the high levels of job satisfaction among Kiwis in paid employment, returning to work after the break won’t be such a bitter pill to swallow...

According to the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research, 64.7% of New Zealanders are in some kind of paid employment. Of these, 77.2% are satisfied with their job, a slightly higher proportion than in Australia (75.4%). This figure is derived from the percentages of workers who are very satisfied with their job (34.4%) and those who are satisfied (42.8%).

Disgruntled employees are few and far between, with just 1.8% of Kiwis in paid employment feeling very dissatisfied with their jobs and 5.3% feeling dissatisfied, both lower than in Australia. The proportion of employees who feel neither satisfied nor dissatisfied is similar in both countries.

New Zealand vs Australia Employment Job Satisfaction


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2012 – September 2013 (n = 9,585), Base: Australians in paid employment; Roy Morgan Single Source (New Zealand), October 2012 - September 2013 (n= 7,620). Base: New Zealanders 14+ in paid employment

The Gisborne region is home to the country’s happiest workers, with 46.5% reporting that they are very satisfied with their job, while Nelson workers are the likeliest to be very dissatisfied (5.5%).

Factors influencing job satisfaction

Like their neighbours across the Tasman, New Zealand’s most satisfied employees tend to be those who receive recognition for a job well done. Almost 60% of working Kiwis feel satisfied with their job recognition — and a mighty 93.7% of those are also satisfied with their job. (In contrast, 35.1% of workers dissatisfied with the recognition they receive on the job are also dissatisfied with their job: almost five times the national average.)

Not surprisingly, salary plays a major role in determining a worker’s job satisfaction. Just over half (50.7%) of New Zealand’s workers rate their salary as good or very good, and of those, nearly 90% (89.7%) are satisfied with their job.

Coming a close third is job security: 52.3% of the Kiwis in paid employment consider their job security to be good, with 88.3% of those also satisfied with their job (compared to 45.8% of those who feel their job security is poor).

Pip Elliott, General Manager, Roy Morgan Research NZ, says:

“Overall, New Zealanders in paid employment are a contented bunch. More than three quarters of them are satisfied with their jobs, a slightly higher proportion than their Australian counterparts, and noticeably more than a decade ago, when the national job satisfaction rate was 71.4%.

“Our findings indicate that an employee’s job satisfaction is influenced by key certain factors. As expected, a healthy pay packet is one of them, but recognition for one’s work is the most important. In these uncertain economic times, a sense of job security also impacts on how satisfied a worker feels overall with his or her job.

“Roy Morgan’s in-depth profiles of different kinds of employees (satisfied or dissatisfied, those who think their job security is good, and so on) provide an invaluable resource for organisations keen to foster a more positive workplace culture.”


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