In today’s rapidly evolving job market, understanding what drives New Zealanders to choose, stay, and thrive at a company is essential. Even more crucial, due to increasing competition, is understanding and addressing the gap between what employees want and what employers offer.

Randstad’s 2024 Employer Brand Research provides a window into the minds of job seekers and employees, revealing significant insights into the drivers of employee satisfaction and the disparities that exist within New Zealand workplaces. By focusing on these key areas, employers can enhance their attractiveness and retain top talent in 2024 and beyond.

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the top 10 EVP drivers

Randstad’s research highlights 10 key Employee Value Proposition (EVP) drivers that are priorities for the New Zealand workforce in 2024:

  1. Work-life balance
  2. Attractive salary & benefits
  3. Good training
  4. Equity
  5. Job security
  6. Strong management
  7. Pleasant work atmosphere
  8. Career progression
  9. Very good reputation
  10. Financially healthy

These drivers underscore the multifaceted expectations of today’s employees, ranging from the essentials of financial compensation to the nuances of workplace environment and management quality. By understanding and prioritising these drivers, employers can more effectively tailor their strategies to meet and exceed the expectations of their current and potential employees. It serves as a critical benchmark for organisations striving to enhance their attractiveness. However, there's often a gap between employee desires and perceptions of what employers currently offer.

an inforgraphic of the perception of employer offer in new zealand
an inforgraphic of the perception of employer offer in new zealand

understanding the gaps in top priorities

While it is beneficial to acknowledge all 10 EVP drivers, it is particularly crucial to address the gaps in the top five, where discrepancies between employee expectations and employer offerings are most pronounced. These gaps not only highlight areas of potential employee dissatisfaction but also offer opportunities for significant improvement in how employers are perceived in the competitive job market. Let’s delve deeper into these gaps and explore strategies to bridge them:

1. work-Life balance:

Employees increasingly prioritise work-life balance, but despite its importance, many employees feel that their need for a balanced life is not fully supported by workplace policies or culture.

2. attractive salary & benefits: 

There is a notable discrepancy in how employees perceive their compensation, especially against the backdrop of rising living costs.

3. good training: 

Employees value development opportunities to support career growth and skill enhancement, but often feel that the training provided is inadequate or misaligned with their career goals.

4. equity: 

New to the top drivers, equity reflects a crucial aspect of workplace culture that many feel is lacking, particularly in terms of gender pay equality and opportunities for advancement.

5. job security: 

While generally well-perceived, the continuous communication regarding job security can be improved to further solidify trust.

strategies to close the gaps

The disparity between what employees desire from their ideal employers and what they perceive is currently offered in the workplace presents both a challenge and an opportunity for organisations. Bridging this gap is essential for enhancing attraction and retention. Here’s a deeper look at strategies to close these gaps:

enhance work-life balance: 

Organisations can close this gap by implementing flexible working arrangements and enforcing policies that prevent burnout. Encourage managers to model work-life balance and support their teams in achieving it. It's also beneficial to regularly solicit employee feedback on these policies to ensure they meet the workforce's changing needs.

improve compensation and benefits: 

There is a significant gap in perceptions regarding compensation, with many employees feeling that their benefits and salaries are not competitive, especially amidst rising living costs. To address this, companies should conduct regular salary reviews and adjust compensation packages to ensure they are competitive and reflective of current economic conditions. Transparency about compensation structures and criteria for raises and promotions can also improve perceptions of fairness and equity.

an image of a group of smiling colleagues in an office having a conversation
an image of a group of smiling colleagues in an office having a conversation

expand training & development opportunities: 

Employees value opportunities for growth and professional development, but there is often a perception that these are lacking. Closing this gap involves not only providing training and development programs, but also promoting them effectively to ensure employees are aware of and can participate in these opportunities. Customising training programs to align with individual career aspirations and business goals can also increase their value and appeal. Regular feedback can help tailor these programs to be more effective.

promote equity in the workplace: 

Promoting equity within the workplace remains a critical challenge and opportunity for New Zealand organisations. About one in three workers identifies as part of a minority group, impacting their perception of workplace equity. Notably, women and younger generations are more critical of equity practices, especially concerning career progression and equal pay. Approximately 45% of minority group members report facing career obstacles due to their identity, compared to a third of other workers.

While most employees feel positive about their employers' equity efforts, significant gaps remain, particularly in ensuring that opportunities are fairly distributed. Only half of the workforce believes that their organisation provides equal pay for equal work, highlighting a critical area for improvement.

To enhance workplace equity, New Zealand organisations should conduct regular equity audits, maintain transparent policies, and foster an inclusive environment that values diverse contributions. Addressing these issues is crucial not only for compliance, but for cultivating a more engaged and productive workforce.

implementing effective changes

To successfully address the disparities between what New Zealand employees expect and perceive, organisations must commit to ongoing dialogue and engagement with their workforce. Utilising surveys and feedback mechanisms is crucial to understanding the nuanced needs and concerns of diverse employee groups. This continuous evaluation helps ensure that employer offerings align with changing expectations and workplace dynamics.

Strategies to bridge gaps should focus on enhancing work-life balance through flexible work arrangements and reinforcing job security with transparent communication about the company's direction and stability. Additionally, improving compensation and benefits to reflect the rising cost of living and ensuring equity in pay and career opportunities will be particularly impactful.

Training programs should be expanded and tailored to meet individual and organisational goals, promoting not only skill development but also a sense of progression and fulfilment at work. Promoting equity must go beyond policy to actively include diverse voices in decision-making processes, recognising and addressing any biases that may impact minority groups adversely.

By proactively implementing these changes, New Zealand employers can significantly improve their attractiveness and retention rates. More importantly, they can foster a workplace culture that is genuinely inclusive and responsive to the aspirations and needs of all employees, making it a key competitive advantage in today's dynamic job market.

For a copy of the Randstad Employer Brand Research Report, go to:

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