Measly pay rises, workplace culture and poor management driving Kiwi professionals to quit jobs

More than a third of Kiwi professionals are planning to leave their jobs in the next year, a new survey has found - with pay their number one reason. 

Recruitment agency Hays surveyed thousands of Kiwi and Australian employers and employees in fields like, banking, insurance, healthcare, property and engineering, and found fewer than half are satisfied with their current job and half don't think they're paid enough. 

And employers look unlikely to do enough to keep them either, expecting to offer pay rises well below what employees think they're worth.

"Many professionals feel that their career stagnated over the past year," said Hays managing director Adam Shapley, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. "They put their career plans on hold to help their organisation through the crisis and recover. Now, they are focused on their career again and are prioritising advancement."

Of 500 Kiwi professionals surveyed, 39 percent said they'll be looking around for a new job in the next 12 months. About half said they were unsatisfied with their current employer, what they are paid and what promotional opportunities were on offer. 

Two-in-five said their work wasn't providing new challenges, and a similar number cited poor management and workplace culture. 

"For employers, this movement of people will add to their staff retention challenges, which are already heightened in response to a gap in salary increase expectations between organisations and their employees," said Shapley.

While three-quarters employers said they plan to give pay rises over the next year, more than half said they would be 3 percent or under - but nearly three-quarters of employees say they want more. 

"The value of salary increases is driving a wedge between employers and employees,” said Shapley. 

"On the one hand, we have three-quarters of New Zealand employers intending to increase salaries in the year ahead, which is a remarkable sign of the confidence employers exhibit today. On the other, professionals say the value of these increases is far less than they deserve."

Only a quarter of employees bothered asking for a pay rise last year, and fewer than half of that small group got one. 

Despite not offering much in the way of pay rises, 70 percent of employers said a shortage of skilled staff was likely to impact their business over the next 12 months. 

Unemployment didn't spike as high as initially feared last year, after the nationwide lockdown successfully rid the country of COVID-19 and restrictions on internal movement were lifted.