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Southern Cross survey identifies job satisfaction indicators that could help kiwi employers avoid the 'Great Resignation'

Business / news
Southern Cross survey identifies job satisfaction indicators that could help kiwi employers avoid the 'Great Resignation'
Man kicking over desk cartoon
Image: rocketace. Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0

New research from Southern Cross Health Insurance is giving New Zealand employers a heads up on how they can safeguard themselves from the 'Great Resignation' and value their employees, with a survey that measured job satisfaction in the Covid-19 era.

The Great Resignation is a worldwide Covid-19 phenomenon where employees leave their jobs seeking better remuneration and the work-life balance they may have caught a glimpse of during periods of remote work.

“There’s been many reports of a significant wave of people overseas reassessing their jobs in the face of the ongoing effects of the pandemic, and New Zealand businesses have an opportunity to prioritise how to prevent the same from happening here," said Nick Astwick, CEO of Southern Cross Health Insurance.

So far, widespread resignations have not yet hit New Zealand and Southern Cross Health Insurance surveyed participants across a wide range of sectors to measure their level of job satisfaction and how Covid-19 may have influenced it. 

Despite some findings that were fairly positive considering the level of upheaval across the workforce, there is room for improvement and it will be important for employers to monitor the job satisfaction of their employees, particularly as borders re-open and opportunity knocks.

“Businesses already have difficulty filling roles in a tight labour market, and this will only get worse if they have large numbers of unhappy employees silently looking to move on. There is also a huge risk that New Zealand will lose a large swathe of young people, and the upwardly mobile, who want to move overseas after two years of closed borders," said Astwick.

During the times when overseas has been off the table, Covid-19 has promoted a sense of gratitude for the stability of being in employment for many, with 46% saying they were grateful for having their job.

Getting behind the (now waning) 'we're all in this together' aspect to Covid-19, people in the 'helping' industries experienced even higher levels of gratitude, with workers in healthcare and social assistance 49% 'grateful' and those in education and training 63%.

In these professions, a supportive team and employer was a large part of their reported job satisfaction. Just over half of those who worked in education and training (53%) said this was the best thing about their job, while 41% of those in the healthcare and social assistance agreed.

Those in education and training were also most chipper about getting on with the working day, with 55% saying they enjoyed going to work most days.

Overall, just over a third (35%) of those surveyed felt positive most days.

While the elusive 'dream job' had been attainable for some, the majority of the workforce is still striving. Twice as many men (15%) as women (7%) reported this level of workplace nirvana, according to the survey.  

Human aspects outranked pay and flexibility when it came to job satisfaction with 34% saying a supportive employer or team was the best part of their job.

In a heartening finding, 30% of those surveyed said their work colleagues feel like friends or family. These sentiments skewed higher towards female workers, with 38% of women valuing a supportive environment compared to 26% of men, the survey found.

Astwick pointed to the balance that exists in the employer/employee relationship: when employers provide wellness benefits, employees feel valued and are more inclined to support and show loyalty to their employers in turn.

“Getting those conditions right can mean greater retention of staff. There’s no denying the impact that employee turnover has on an organisation’s productivity and bottom line, so investment in building a purpose-driven culture that also encourages a feeling of belonging can help to retain a motivated and engaged workforce,” he said.

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The number 1 reason people leave their job is because of the boss. And the number 1 sin of the boss is unequal/unfair/inconsistent treatment of employees. 



NZ's public sector is doing more than its fair share in this space. The need to attract and retain "well-rounded candidates" certainly calls for relaxing background requirements for technical roles.…

PS. For those commenters on this website who don't get it, this is a sarcastic comment from someone who recently lost good direct reports to "well-rounded" roles in the public sector; most are doing stuff they are clearly underqualified for.


Unfortunately I discovered a bit late in my working life that the way to avoid resignation and constant disappointment  is to become self employed.


I always loathed the culture of large organisations, over my career as I've worked my way up a diminishing amount of my time has been spent productively and an increasing amount on managing my own advancement. I now earn some multiple of an entry level employee but likely contribute less overall value to the organisation.


I have resigned and feel free from the corporate culture of constant harassment of employees by the employer be it's small or big business. 

They always want you to follow their line of thinking and you are constantly bound to them.

The corporates makes millions for themselves and their share holders but have a dog called HR to come and bite the employee of they ask for anything.

I suggest all employees to resign en masse and work for themselves. You can work for the same company but on your terms rather than theirs. You are the one doing the work. You can negotiate better things for yourself.

Don't worry about the job, where do you think the employers are going to get people from? They are going to come begging to you to work. All we need is co-operation between the employees and work together for our own benefit. 


Not a daft idea! I used to work as a contractor in the training industry. Worked in an office, the same as the other folk doing the same job as me, but had the advantages of working my own hours and being able to make work related claims - vehicle expenses etc. I missed out on stat day & holiday pay, but as my hourly rate was better than that of the other folk in the  office, I was OK with that. Sadly came to an end after 3 renewals of the contract and I got taken on full time - only to be made redundant about 5 years later. Now retired and loving it.


I suspect NZ is better placed than parts of the USA where the movement has taken off. They enjoy fewer protections from exploitative employer behaviour than do most Kiwis.

From reading the accounts of many folk involved in the great resignation, it looks more like a wage shortage than anything else. It's simply not worth it for the folk to put up with what they had been (the combination of wages and poor employer behaviour) if they can move, upskill, or downsize their lifestyles and live with less.  


I wonder how many people will be out of a job once the borders re-open.  Some employers have struggled to fill positions and had to accept a lower quality than they would want.


Just went to Pilkingtons on Shortland St....maybe eight customers.... the whole street deserted.

whos paying the rent?

this has to bite at some point


The ability to work from home for more days must surely affect Shortland Street, as most offices there tend to be full of "knowledge workers" who work mostly in front of a computer. Zoning should be relaxed to allow buildings to be a mix of office and residential more easily.