July 11, 2019

Nearly half of Australian workers are looking for new employment, and here’s why

Ceridian’s inaugural Australia Pay Experience Report found that 45% of Australian workers are looking for new jobs. So, employers are under pressure to do more with their retention strategies and keep their top talent for the long term. Here are key factors that drive employees to stay or go.

Findings from Ceridian’s inaugural Australia Pay Experience Report may give employers pause: it’s likely that most of your employees are open to new job opportunities.

The report found that only 26% of employees aren’t interested in new opportunities. That means the majority of employees are looking either actively or casually (45%), or would consider a new job if they were approached (29%).

The report, based on a survey conducted by Hanover research on behalf of Ceridian, asked 964 Australian workers (a mix of full-time, part-time, and contract/freelance workers) how they feel about their pay experience, including how it impacts job satisfaction.

The report findings indicate that the pressure is on employers to create engaging reasons for their top talent to stay for the long-term – and some of these key factors are related to the employee pay experience. Here are some top considerations.

Download the full report to read about key factors impacting how employees feel about their pay experience

How job satisfaction relates to pay

Our research found that pay is the top contributor to job unhappiness. Of survey respondents who said they weren’t satisfied with their job, pay – or not making a good salary – was the most cited reason for job unhappiness at 41%.

However, pay is not the top contributor to happiness. Those who said they’re satisfied with their jobs ranked pay much lower on the list of reasons why. When asked why they are satisfied with their jobs, employees were more likely to cite interesting work (65%), good relationships with colleagues (58%), or that they are well-respected (48%) than their salary (37%).

While pay alone won’t make an employee happy, if they’re not satisfied with their pay, they’re more likely to consider leaving their job.

These findings are in line with what we know about the modern workforce: today’s employees will seek out work that gives them joy and satisfaction. Organisations need to focus on creating a sense of purpose and meaning in the workplace, and compensate their people competitively, if they want to keep their top talent moving forward.  

Related: Research says 61% of Australian workers aren’t completely satisfied with their pay experience

Communication is key when it comes to pay transparency

The amount of transparency employees feel they’re given about pay can colour their overall pay experience. This includes transparency related to their role and contribution within their organization, and to pay scales for similar positions at other companies.

On this point, the survey found that employee satisfaction could be higher: only 29% of respondents are completely satisfied when it comes to the transparency of information regarding considerations like industry average and coworkers’ pay.

Related: More than three-quarters of Australian workers feel stressed about pay issues: research

Ceridian’s People and Culture Officer Lisa Sterling notes in the report that most organisations aren’t transparent about compensation – and in fact, it’s easier for companies to defend their pay practices if people don’t have anything to compare it to.

But access to information is disrupting those cultural norms. With online services like Glassdoor and others now increasingly common, employees have more access than ever to self-reported salary information.

With pay data so readily available, it's time for organisations to have a more open dialogue about pay. Provide visibility into how pay is structured throughout the company to give your employees more insight into why they are compensated the way they are.

Equally important to a positive pay experience is clear communication. The Australia Pay Experience report found that only 36% of respondents strongly agree that their company clearly communicates matters regarding pay.

This applies to communicating the different aspects of total compensation – a conversation that can begin even before employees start their first day. Organisations need to provide clarity when speaking about compensation – whether it’s simply salary or hourly rate, or if it includes commissions, benefits, or other pillars of total compensation.

For more insights about how to improve the pay experience, download the Australia Pay Experience Report

Nathan Reynolds

Nathan is the Managing Director for Ceridian Australia. 

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