New Zealand employees value flexibility over career progression: survey

Employers warned of a potential leadership gap

New Zealand employees value flexibility over career progression: survey

Employees across New Zealand are putting more premium on getting flexibility rather than climbing the corporate ladder, according to the latest Workmonitor report from Randstad.

The report, which included 1,000 Kiwis, found that only 42% of employees consider career ambition as important, right behind getting mental health support (86%) and flexible working hours (82%).

But it noted that Kiwis still desire self-improvement, with 77% of the respondents saying training and development opportunities are important.

Another 22% of respondents said that would also quit their job if they weren't offered opportunities to future-proof their skills, such as getting leadership skillsets (31%) and training on AI (24%).

Leadership gap underway

Richard Kennedy, country director of Randstad New Zealand, said employers need to prepare for talent and leadership gap that's coming their way.

"As workers redefine the meaning of ambition and retreat from the corporate grind, organisations will have their work cut out for them," Kennedy said in a statement.

"The solution is to recognise and adopt the new ABC of talent management to stay ahead," he added. "Only by demonstrating that they truly understand workers' ambitions, their desire for balance and the need for connection, can organisations set themselves apart as employers of choice and drive the talent agenda of tomorrow."

Flexibility still in demand

Meanwhile, the report also found that flexibility remains on top of many Kiwis' priorities.

In fact, 86% of employees said having flexible work is important, while 51% said working from home is a non-negotiable for them.

This comes as 67% of employees said they made significant changes to their lifestyles due to hybrid work.

"The future of work will continue to evolve with remote work being undeniable. However, data shows that, while flexibility continues to shape workers' priorities, it has become a highly nuanced concept that doesn't necessarily just mean working from home," Kennedy said.

"The challenge lies in ensuring productivity and maintaining organisational culture in such a dispersed environment."

Equitable workplaces also in desired

Aside from flexibility, equitable workplaces are also in demand for many employees in New Zealand.

According to the report, a third of Kiwi employees would not accept a job if the organisation wasn't making any proactive effort to boost its diversity and equity as 49% seek to be a part of a diverse workforce.

Kiwis are calling on their organisations to take measures on the following:

"This year's research demonstrates that a one-size-fits-all talent policy is not sustainable. Today's workforce know what they want and equitable, flexible workplaces are key to this," Kennedy said.

"To them, ambition has become more than climbing the corporate ladder, and motivations are no longer driven by promotions. Talent are looking for like-minded partnerships where they can present their authentic selves and work with employers to improve equity in the workplace."

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