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The latest survey data has revealed that the number one thing on Australian employees’ minds is job security – questions about salary and other benefits pale in comparison to this one key factor. The survey from recruitment and consultancy firm Randstad canvassed the opinions of more than 7,000 Australian professionals who nominated the most important factor influencing their job satisfaction.

Key statistics from the report included:

■26% rated long-term job security as the most important factor influencing their job satisfaction

■19% said being kept abreast of the organisation’s financial outlook

■Just 11% rated competitive salary and benefits as the most important factor

The uncertain economic conditions are having a telling effect on the labour market in Australia and around the world, and the research findings represent a significant shift in employee attitudes compared to the same report conducted in 2011.

Last year, a quarter of professionals said salary was the ultimate determinant in the attractiveness of an employer, while just 11% elected long-term job security as the key factor. “This year, we have seen a complete reversal,” Fred van der Tang from Randstad commented.

According to van der Tang, the shift is a result of the US and Eurozone debt crises, and slowing growth in China.

“When you combine this with the recent spate of highly publicised large-scale redundancies at some of Australia’s largest employers, it doesn’t paint a very positive picture for jobseekers,” he added.

A recent research project carried out in New Zealand by Professor Ray Markey, currently head of Macquarie [ University’s Work Futures Research Centre, compared common workplace concerns, such as job satisfaction, levels of stress and whether workers feel appreciated, and determined that the employer approach needs to be an investment in what an employee would consider to be a ‘good quality work environment’.

“The greatest impact is whether the employees have a decent job satisfaction level, feel appreciated, and whether they can get information from the boss – which is not necessarily the same as employees having a say – but getting information about plans for the workplace that will affect the employee, be it financial information or otherwise,” Professor Markey said.

The big issue for HR to get right in the current climate is the critical action of open and transparent communication.

Colonial First State CEO Brian Bissaker said that in communicating the difficult information, such as in times of restructure, the best plan of attack is to let people hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.


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