1 in 2 New Zealand workers at risk of high burnout

Aotearoa New Zealand workforce driven to highest burnout risk by job insecurity

1 in 2 New Zealand workers at risk of high burnout

One in two employees in New Zealand now fall within the high burnout risk category, according to new research.

The burnout risk has doubled from the December 2023 rate of 25 per cent and exceeded the previous highest rate of 44 per cent in November 2021, according to Jarrod Haar, professor at Massey Business School.

The doubling of burnout risk across the general workforce comes primarily from the increase in job insecurity and is a critical and dangerous issue for individuals and employers, he said.

“Those who perceive their job as most under threat have increased from 22 per cent in December 2023 to 48.4 per cent in April 2024. The changed job market has truly struck the workforce, and those in the high job insecurity group are 14.5 times more likely to be in the burnout risk group. The workforce is feeling massive strain due to the fear of job losses, leading to incredibly high levels of job burnout.”

Those in the burnout risk category are far more likely to experience mental health issues like anxiety and depression, as well as higher levels of insomnia, Haar said.

“Employers should also be concerned, as burnt-out workers are 16.5 times more likely to seriously consider quitting their job. They are also 28.5 times more likely to engage in poor work behaviours often, including slacking off and not trying. Both of these issues can translate into high costs for employers.”

Differing burnout levels across industries, regions

The research shows that different industries in New Zealand are experiencing different levels of burnout, with the highest rate reported among clerical workers. In comparison, business professionals reported the lowest burnout rate.

Highest burnout rates:

  • Clerical workers (87.9 per cent)
  • Educational professionals (86.6 per cent)
  • Office managers (70.7 per cent)
  • Health professionals (63.5 per cent)

Lowest burnout rates:

  • Business professionals (22.2 per cent)
  • Salespeople (23.1 per cent)
  • Office support workers (23.3 per cent)
  • Information and communication technology professionals (25 per cent)

The research also found differences in burnout levels across regions. The South Island reported the lowest numbers (Nelson at 14.3 per cent and the West Coast and Otago both at 33.3 per cent), while Gisborne reported the highest at 81.1 per cent.

There were also differences based on working environment, with full-time remote workers reporting the lowest levels (15.4 per cent), followed by full-time office workers (31.8 per cent). Hybrid workers reported the highest productivity levels but also the highest burnout rate at 72.4 per cent.

Recent articles & video

Worker 'smuggles' unauthorised devices in 'high-security' workplace

Compliance order issued: Employer to pay almost $30,000 for unjustified dismissal

Decline in job ads 'accelerated' in June: SEEK NZ

Government moves to stop contractors challenging employment status

Most Read Articles

Immigration NZ employees put on leave after inappropriate conversation on Teams: reports

PwC wins against disgruntled accountant who wanted to nullify settlement

The Warehouse Group to lay off head office employees: report