Job Churn High in ICT Sector

Thursday 10 March 2011, 1:44PM
By Ideas Shop

Job churn in the New Zealand ICT sector remains high with more than one third of employees looking to move overseas and more than two thirds looking for new jobs in New Zealand, according to the latest sector employee intentions survey.

Data from the six-monthly absoluteIT Employee Intentions Report Jan/Feb 2011 confirms an ongoing trend in employee restlessness revealed in 2010 surveys, driven mainly by remuneration, career challenge and lifestyle.

“The latest statistics are consistent with the past 18 months with a significant number of employees actively looking for new opportunities both within New Zealand and offshore,” says absoluteIT Director Grant Burley.

A total of 2381 respondents took part in an electronic survey throughout December 2010 and January 2011 for the January/February 2011 Employee Intentions Survey.

Mr Burley says salary is increasingly important as a key motivator for moving on, particularly for those employees to seeking work overseas.

“We’re seeing salary as a motivator more than doubling over the past six months rising from 23% in July to more than 53% now.

“So it’s not surprising that Australia is increasingly the most popular destination of choice with its promise of higher-salaries. The Trans-Tasman pull has increased by around 5% since July, now favoured by up to 50% of respondents.”

(The Australian median base package of $91,560 includes 9% superannuation compared to New Zealand’s $80,000 median base package with an optional 2% superannuation provided by New Zealand employers.)

The other main reasons for moving offshore are lifestyle (50%) and career development (49%) – like salary, key motivators that have more than doubled over the past six months.
Local job churn also remains high with 67% of employees actively looking for new work, similar to 2010 figures.
The main reasons for moving on are desire for a change, skills not being utilised, lack of career progression and low salary.

The main attraction of taking a new job is salary, with 28% of respondents, followed by the offer of more challenging work and better career development.

Likewise, better salary is the main reason for staying with a current employer at 31%, followed by promotion to a better role and more challenging work.

“The survey results are symptomatic of how the struggling economy has meant far fewer organisations can invest in new projects, growth and development,” says Mr Burley.

“Our knowledge of the current market shows that organisations which do have capital reinvest in growth and development are the ones getting the best talent - particularly those developing products for offshore markets.”

However, the dwindling talent pool and rising employer hiring intentions meant it was increasingly difficult for them to access key skill sets such as software developers.

“Most employers are struggling to attract and retain talent by increasing salaries and financial benefits. Our October salaries survey showed only a minimal overall salary increase of around 1% along with a slight reduction in benefits for permanent employees since April 2010.

“However, where employers can respond to what employees are looking for is in non-financial areas - namely workplace flexibility. This is by far the most highly valued non-financial benefit an employer can offer.

Mr Burley says while nearly a third of employees here enjoy a flexible work arrangement - almost double what is offered in Australia - New Zealand employers need to do more.

“The employee call is strong and to compete for talent in our rapidly expanding industry and with strong international competition, New Zealand employers need to making themselves as attractive as possible through offering the best possible flexibility options.

“This means investing in the latest remote access technologies so staff can work offsite, talking to staff about your flexible working hours policy and reviewing it in line with what they are seeking and likewise, reviewing career training and advancement opportunities and bonus policies.”