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Skilled Staff Shortage: Hold On to Your Top Performers

4 August 2011

Skilled Staff Shortage: Hold On to Your Top Performers

New research by leading finance and accounting recruiter Robert Half shows 84 per cent of managers are finding it challenging to find skilled financial professionals.

This aligns with results from Statistics New Zealand’s Quarterly Employment Survey to June, released this week, which show steady employment while paid hours and average earnings continue to grow.

The Robert Half research found most difficulty has been in finding skilled job candidates for accounting positions – at 41 per cent, an increase of 22 per cent year on year.

As business confidence increases, more managers will be looking to hire staff to plug gaps, ease the pressure on existing workloads and meet new business growth over the coming year.

This has a knock on effect for businesses which will need to work harder to attract new talent and keep hold of top performers.

The research also found that 62 per cent hiring managers in New Zealand were concerned about losing top financial performers to other job opportunities in the next year.

Robert Half New Zealand general manager, Megan Alexander, says there is cause for concern.

“Employers will need to respond quickly, be more flexible, and be prepared to compromise. Top talent will get snapped up quickly as there is no longer the luxury of a large pool of candidates that was available during the downturn.”

She adds, “like it or not, it seems we are mainly driven by money when it comes to changing jobs.”

Given the right inducement, 94 per cent of finance and accounting staff would be tempted to move jobs. Increased pay (26%) or taking on more challenging responsibilities (19%) are the two options most likely to entice staff to change companies.

A further 20 per cent were most tempted by a promotion, a more prestigious job title or the opportunity to work for an inspirational manager

Despite this, New Zealand hiring managers have reported offering a number of enticements over and above salary to attract and retain talent. These include subsidised training or education (52%), flexible working hours or telecommuting (46%) and additional bonuses (41%).

Other less common retention incentives being offered include mentoring programmes, loyalty leave, free or subsidised lunch or snacks, subsidised gym memberships, discounts or cash back programmes with popular retailers and onsite perks such as childcare, dry cleaning, fitness centre or cafeteria.

Alexander cites that while more money is the biggest lure to a new role, the three main factors for people wanting to leave a current job relate to issues with people, structure or process. This is food for thought for employees looking to build retention.

“Employees will be far more engaged by being given the opportunity to do meaningful work at a company they love with a team they enjoy, and where they are recognised for their achievements. Managers who can provide this mix, along with a competitive salary, will find they are well-placed when it comes to keeping hold of top performers,” she says.

For further information on hiring predictions, hiring and retention tips and business growth see the Robert Half Financial Employment Report.


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