home Employee Experience, Executive Profiles Most senior Australian business leaders plan to join the ‘Great Resignation’

Most senior Australian business leaders plan to join the ‘Great Resignation’

According to a new report released today by KellyOCG, over three quarters of Australian senior executives say they are planning to leave their organisations in the next two years, which is higher than the global average.  The second annual KellyOCG Global Workforce Report – Re:work, surveyed 1,000 senior business leaders across 12 countries to understand the greatest talent challenges and risks facing organisations as they emerge from the pandemic. 

It also explores how companies are transforming across four critical dynamics of success: workforce agility; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); employee experience; and adoption of tools and technologies. 

“Our research signals there is significant talent demand for a life-work shift. Even senior leaders are experiencing it and acknowledge that employers could be doing more,” said Tammy Browning, president of KellyOCG. “A shift in workplace culture is needed and organisations must evolve to remain competitive, profitable, and attractive to top talent. Organisations that aren’t taking action across the four dynamics will continue to see employees at all levels walk out the door.”  

Peter Hamilton, vice president and managing director, APAC, at KellyOCG said, “Australia is facing one of the greatest skills crises in our lifetimes. The battle for talent is fierce as the economy recovers from a challenging two years of border closures and lock downs. However, the renewed optimism felt by organisations is also being echoed by employees themselves. They know that they could walk out the door into another job at any time, so the real challenge is not only finding new talent but also retaining and nurturing the talent you currently have. Smart companies are no longer thinking of flexible, hybrid and inclusive work as a nice to have, they are investing in the technology and experiences that make it more tailored to their workforce.” 

KellyOCG surveyed C-suite leaders, board members, department heads, directors, and managers in 12 countries and 10 industries. Key findings include:   

  • Australian senior leaders are happier than their global counterparts but are more likely to leave in the next two years: More than half of senior leaders worldwide (58%) are unhappy in their current position, but in Australia only 45% say they are unhappy. However, 76% of Australian leaders say they will leave their employer in the next two years, while only 72% of their global counterparts say the same. These findings show that Australia may experience “boss loss” much more than the rest of the world. 
  • Australian leaders are struggling to make hybrid work a success: Just 12% of Australian businesses believe that hybrid work is positively impacting organisational culture compared to 21% globally. Over a third (34%) of Australian leaders reported that the complexity of managing a hybrid workforce will eventually require a return to the office, which was higher than global leaders (28%). However, only 25% say that their employees have an avenue to share feedback on hybrid work policies which again was lower than the global average (34%) 
  • Australian leaders are more likely to favour a four-day work week: 75% of Australian leaders say that they have already implemented a shorter work week or plan to do so in the next 12 months. This is higher than the global average of 69%. 
  • Hiring contingent talent is one of the biggest talent barriers firms face today. More than one in three leaders (37%) say their firms struggle to hire the contingent talent they need to remain agile in today’s economy. Globally more than a quarter (28%) plan to increase their use of contingent talent by at least 25% in the next five years, but in Australia only 34% have a clear strategy for how they will use contingent talent to augment their permanent workforce.  
  • Firms are not going far enough or fast enough to achieve diversity, equity and inclusion and support employees’ mental health. Less than one third (27%) have implemented innovative initiatives to improve DEI, such as advocacy groups and support programs (and only 15% provide DEI training for leaders). And even though 25% report an increase in employee absences due to poor mental health, 78% do not have a workplace culture where it’s acceptable to disclose mental health challenges as a reason for taking time off. This is higher than the global average of 70%. 
  • Firms are lagging when it comes to adopting the right tools and technologies required to develop their workforce. Nearly two-thirds do not yet have data analytics tools that enable them to capture trends around employee retention and productivity – technologies that 79% say have been positively received by employees. And 76% report a lack of knowledge-sharing tools that foster stronger collaboration among hybrid, remote, and in-office employees.  

The Re:work report provides a blueprint for firms interested in following the lead of the “Vanguards” – a group of thriving organisations that report an increase in employee wellbeing, productivity, and revenue growth in the last year. The Vanguards represent 15% of global survey respondents and they share four key dynamics driving their approach to culture, technology, and talent management: 

  1. Vanguards are strengthening workforce agility. These leading organisations are 15% more likely to use contingent talent to improve workforce agility (41% vs. 26%), suggesting a link between the use of contingent talent and higher employee productivity and wellbeing. 
  • Vanguards are taking concrete action on DEI.  Senior leaders at these firms are more likely to engage with workers across the organisation around DEI (82% vs. 60%) and are more likely to implement innovative initiatives to improve their DEI performance – but there is much more progress to be made to create an inclusive workplace environment.  
  • Vanguards are reinventing the employee experience. Senior executives at Vanguard organisations are 24% more likely to say they have a good work-life balance, and 23% more likely to say they are happy in their current role. They also say that their organisation is more respectful of employees as whole person and is reinventing work in partnership with them. Vanguards are also implementing strategies to assess employee sentiment and engagement and report C-suite accountability for improving the employee experience (57% vs. 29%).  
  • Vanguards are adopting the right tools and technologies to empower today’s workforce. They are implementing knowledge-sharing tools that enable collaboration among in-office, hybrid, and remote workers (46% vs. 34%) and utilise platforms that allow a clear view of the mix of permanent and contingent talent across their business (42% vs. 32%).  

When these four dynamics are embraced together, businesses across industries can better attract, retain, and motivate talent to meet their business goals, the Re:work report finds. Independent experts cited throughout the report provide further insights and testimonials on how their organisations are navigating the life-work shift. 

To read the full report and additional insights, visit HERE.