Many workers unhappy in jobs

If you think you are the only person in the country who isn't happy at work - think again.

A survey released this week by online employment company Seek has revealed that only 30% of New Zealand employees are happy with their job.

The annual Satisfaction and Motivation Survey found the percentage of people who were unhappy at work climbed to 41%, up from 35% a year ago. A further 29% stated their feeling about their job as ‘‘neutral''.

The survey, which received more than 1400 responses, also found that 80% of Generation Y and 78% of Generation X respondents said the best way to retain their services was to pay them more. The next best way was to reward individual performance.

Seek New Zealand general manager Annemarie Duff said the country's ‘‘brain drain'' would continue unless employers looked for ways to help their staff keep ahead of the increasing cost of living.

‘‘It's easy to criticise Generation Y, in particular, for being money driven, but many graduates have university debts worth thousands of dollars.

Our society also pressures young people to save for their own home at a time when they are trying to establish some financial independence,'' she said.

‘‘What this survey says loud and clear is that employers need to get back to basics and realise that the cost of living is a major issue for many workers. Unless this is addressed, the brain drain is likely to continue.''

Staff were more inclined to be motivated by petrol vouchers than weekends away at fancy hotels, she said.

‘‘We are also hearing reports of families who are considering leaving their jobs and moving out of the cities in an effort to make ends meet.''

Employers and Manufacturers Association acting chief executive Bruce Goldsworthy said employers were extremely conscious of the need to do everything possible to retain good staff, including providing flexible hours.

‘‘I find it a little bit difficult to accept that employers are not taking all reasonable steps to keep their best staff.

On the flipside, if there are so many of them unhappy in their existing positions, one wonders why they haven't taken the opportunity to look elsewhere when there are so many vacancies.''

Most companies rewarded good employees and improved productivity, he said,

‘‘At the end of the day, the company has to remain profitable or its future is short-term.''

The survey also found that New Zealanders have a positive attitude to work - only 9% of respondents said they wouldn't work if they didn't have to.

Auckland respondents are the most likely to be career-focused and ambitious but the least likely to feel they have their work/life balance right.

Sixty-one percent of Generation Y respondents said they intended on staying in their job for less than a year, as did 58% of Generation X and 50% of Baby Boomers.

Ms Duff said career development programmes and corporate social responsibility initiatives
were not considered important by the average worker.

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