New Zealand employers prioritise job protection, survey finds

54 per cent of employers are experiencing ‘growth’ or ‘rapid growth’, according to a new Hays survey.

More than 50 per cent of New Zealand employers are experiencing ‘growth’ or ‘rapid growth’, according to a survey of employers by recruiting firm Hays.

However, 11 per cent say they are still in the crisis phase while 22 per cent describe their current state as defensive.

The Hays survey – conducted for the recruiter’s new Hays Barometer Report, which launches today – shows the percentage of New Zealand employers who are experiencing ‘growth’ or ‘rapid growth’ is ahead of every state and territory in Australia bar ACT.

Hays also asked employers what they are prioritising now. For over half (53 per cent), protecting the jobs of staff was the most important factor.

This was followed by supporting the mental health & wellbeing of staff (51 per cent), regular and transparent communication with staff (43 per cent), continued support of remote working (42 per cent) and business agility (31 per cent).

Employers nominated revenue growth (30 per cent), maintaining a positive employment brand (28 per cent), technology investments (20 per cent), improving equality, diversity & inclusion in their organisation (19 per cent) and downsizing (10 per cent) as lesser priorities at this point in time.

Commenting on the survey findings, Adam Shapley, managing director of Hays in New Zealand, said they are a good indication of how organisations are faring today in light of COVID-19.

“The results suggest there is light at the end of the tunnel with over half of employers already experiencing growth again and many looking to protect the jobs of staff.

“While there have been many pandemic job losses in organisations large and small, those that can protect jobs are able to shield their staff from unemployment and the resulting financial and mental health & wellbeing hardships. In fact, very early in this crisis employers prioritised the mental health & wellbeing of employees and our survey confirms this remains the second most important priority for them today.”

Possible long-term workplace changes: Flexible working crucial

Looking ahead, the survey also reveals that while it will take time to settle upon a post-COVID-19 ‘normal’, employers are beginning to think about the long-term changes they may make to their workplace.

Topping the list is the offering of regular flexible working, which 47 per cent of employers say they will retain long-term.

According to Shapley, “While flexible working shouldn’t be considered a cure-all for your attraction, engagement and retention challenges, the success of the shift to remote working in many organisations during the pandemic has removed most of the former objections to the practice.

“As a result, failing to offer some form of flexible working post-pandemic could damage your employer brand and ability to attract and retain top talent.”

Hays’s survey was conducted in August 2020 and was completed by 4,105 people. Of these, 966 responded as employers. The full results can be found in the new Hays Barometer Report, available now at www.hays.net.nz/employer-insights/employer-tools/barometer-report

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