Australian Employees Staying Put as Concerns About Economy Grow

In BICSI Bytes, Newsby info@bicsi.com.au

According to a recent Gartner report, Australian employees’ intent to stay with their current employer rose 13.4%, while active job-seeking behaviour decreased by nearly 7% in Q2 2019.

Data from Gartner’s Q2 2019 Global Talent Monitor report revealed 19% of Australian employees are actively job seeking, down from 25.9% in Q1, while 43.7% of employees report a high intent to stay, up from 30.3% in Q1. Australian employees’ confidence in near-term business conditions and long-term economic prospects fell 8% since Q1. Their perception of employment opportunities also declined.

At the same time, discretionary effort levels — the willingness of Australian workers to go above and beyond at work — increased 3.9%, a reversal of the downward trajectory that started in early 2018. However, this increase in effort is unlikely to be good news for employers.

“Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security,” said Aaron McEwan, VP HR practice at Gartner. “While the research indicates employees are working hard and job-seeking activity is down, the decline in business confidence is very telling.”

In normal conditions, a rise in discretionary effort would be viewed positively, but with talks of a recession growing louder and a fear that job cuts are on the horizon, motivated and talented workers are staying put while readying themselves to jump ship.

“It’s apparent that in the midst of economic uncertainty, workers are going into self-preservation mode, digging in while they hone their skills and increase their employability,” McEwan said. “The next three months will be critical for organisations to secure the trust and commitment of their top talent. In the list of reasons employees gave for leaving a job, future career opportunity came in at No. 2 (up three places) and development opportunity ranked fourth (up four places).

“With bonus and pay freezes on the horizon, organisations should use development opportunities as recognition to encourage good people to stay. Investing in the career development of your high performers can help to stabilise the organisation during a challenging climate and ensure the business is prepared to take advantage of an upturn. Be wary of cutting too deeply. You risk losing your best people.”

Gartner research shows high-potential (HIPO) employees bring 91% more value to the organisation than non-HIPOs and exert 21% more effort than their peers.

In an uncertain economic climate, employers must establish strategies to better engage, retain and reward their current workforce. Organisations can make progress on these goals by ensuring they prioritize the delivery of a robust Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that focuses on the attributes driving both employee attraction and attrition, including work-life balance and future career opportunities.

Global Talent Monitor data is drawn from the larger Gartner Global Labour Market Survey that is made up of over 40,000 employees in 40 countries, including 1,851 in Australia this quarter.