Employers fear more than 1.8 million workers could be on the move this year

New Robert Half research has found one in seven Australian workers are likely to seek a new job this year. Read more here.

  • Australian companies report on average 15% of their staff are currently leaving the organisation voluntarily. 
  • 67% of employers have seen an increase in staff turnover in the last three years. 
  • 96% have in place staff retention initiatives. 

New research has found Australian businesses have seen an increase in staff turnover in the past three years. According to the research, independently commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half, one in seven (15%), or roughly over 1.8 million Australian workers based on the number of employed persons in Australia [1], are likely to seek a new job this year. 

Little over two-thirds (67%) of Australian employers say they have seen an increase in staff turnover – defined as employees freely resigning – in the past three years with the average turnover currently standing at 15%. And despite the fact 96% of Australian firms currently have in place measures to avoid staff turnover, more than half (57%) of Australian’s managers say turnover within their organisation is expected to increase over the next 12 months – with 21% believing churn will be “significantly higher”. 

When looking at the measures companies take to retain their employees, only half of organisations have employee appreciation (50%) and wellness programs (47%), whilst more than half don’t offer any training and development programs (53%) and/or regularly review salaries (58%). Organisations are also missing out on valuable insights from their departing employees, with almost nine in 10 (88%) failing to undertake exit interviews.

Employee retention initiative % of Australian businesses
Employee appreciation initiatives 50%
Employee wellness programs 47%
Training and professional development programs 47%
Regular salary reviews 42%
Flexible and/or remote working opportunities 42%
Employee engagement initiatives 32%
Regular performance reviews/feedback 31%
Clear communication of company purpose/goals 30%
Exit interviews 12%

Source: Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 460 hiring managers in Australia – multiple answers allowed. 

Andrew Brushfield, Director of Robert Half Australia said: “Staff turnover can cause significant setbacks for a business through not just lost productivity and revenue, but also low staff morale – highlighting companies need to not only secure a steady pipeline of skilled talent, but also make employee retention policies a crucial business priority.”

“Employees are the backbone of any organisation, so it’s essential for employers to balance their staff engagement policy on both the acquisition and retention of top performing talent.” 

“Implementing employee retention initiatives that incorporate both wellbeing programs, regular salaries reviews alongside clear career pathways help Australian businesses avoid high staff turnover. Employees who are happy in their role and gain a higher sense of professional fulfilment tend to achieve better results, and are more likely to remain with the company for the long term,” concluded Andrew Brushfield. 

[1] Based on the number of employed persons in Australia  http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/mf/6202.0 


About the research
The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted in December 2017 by an independent research firm, surveying 460 hiring managers from companies across Australia. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.


Katherine Mills
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
P: +61 2 8028 7757
E: [email protected]