NZ workers worried about job security

Confidence fell in the June quarter but one recent survey indicates employers are actually looking to increase staff numbers.

HR professionals may want to reassure workers that their jobs are safe after a recent index revealed employees are growing increasingly worried about job security.

The Westpac-McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index fell 3.3 points in the June quarter with workers blaming New Zealand’s ever-increasing population for driving up competition and keeping a lid wages.

A paltry 5.3 per cent of the 1,555 respondents said they had expected more job security over the coming year, down from 12.8 per cent in the March quarter.

Workers were also pessimistic about future opportunities, with a 17.1 per cent indicating it will be harder to get a job in a year's time – up from a net 15.8 per cent in the March quarter.

Interestingly, it seems workers’ uncertainty is actually unfounded as a recent Hays survey revealed a huge 44 per cent of New Zealand employers are actually planning to increase staff numbers in 2016 – far higher than the eight per cent that plan to reduce their workforce.

In fact, the study even found that 76 per cent of employers would consider employing or sponsoring a qualified overseas candidate – up six per cent from last year – so could this increased interest be the source of employees’ woes?

“Not at all,” says Jason Walker, MD of Hays New Zealand. “Employers are more open to hiring from overseas in response to the local shortage of certain skilled professionals.”

While employers may be struggling to fill skills gaps, Walker says they shouldn’t forget to make employees feel secure in their jobs.

“To a certain extent, employers do have a responsibility to ensure workers feel secure in their jobs if they want to retain them,” he told HRM, pointing to an report on the issue which looked at a range of engagement factors – both intrinsic and extrinsic – and provided advice on how to address each one.
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