The number 1 reason employees leave: better pay

Independent research by specialist recruiter Robert Half reveals that higher remuneration is the primary driver behind Australian employees seeking new employment opportunities.

Independent research by specialist recruiter Robert Half reveals that higher remuneration is the primary driver behind Australian employees seeking new employment opportunities.

With 79% of Australian HR managers saying they are concerned about losing their top performers to another company in the next 12 months, staff retention firmly stands at the top of the human resources agenda. 

David Jones, Senior Managing Director Robert Half Asia Pacific said: "As businesses look to grow, having a well-developed retention strategy in place is still a top priority on the business agenda and can be a decisive factor to gain a competitive edge.” 

More than one third (37%) of Australian employees indicate that better pay would be the most important factor which would prompt them to leave their current job. According to 28%, a better work life balance would be the most determining factor in the decision to change jobs, followed by career development (12%), enhanced geographic location (8%), corporate culture (8%), and the relationship with the boss and/or colleagues (7%).

David Jones said: “With remuneration still being a decisive factor for many employees deciding to leave their current employer, companies should regularly benchmark the remuneration and benefits offered to existing staff to ensure they are competitive alongside companies in similar sectors.”

The most important factor which would prompt you to leave your current job/company

Higher remuneration / better pay 37%
Better work life balance 28%
Further career advancement 12%
Geographic location 8%
Better company / corporate culture 8%
Relationship with boss and / or colleagues 7%

Source: Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 1,000 Australian office workers.


David Jones continued: "Organisations that succeed in keeping their top employees motivated and loyal to the company are one step ahead of the competition. There are many reasons why an employee can decide to change jobs. An effective retention strategy should therefore be flexible. There is no standard approach for employee retention." 

"Employers should make an effort to check in with their top employees to find out their individual motivations. Good communication is essential for a good HR policy. Employers who know exactly what their employees are looking for will be able to bind them more efficiently to the company," concluded David Jones.

Robert Half has developed five tips for companies to develop an effective retention strategy:

  1. Communicate openly and clearly with your employees about their expectations, concerns and needs.
  2. Do not underestimate the importance of recognition and appreciation.
  3. Offer a personalised and competitive compensation package which sufficient attention to non-financial benefits.
  4. Offer incentives to top performers after successfully completing a project or at the end of a successful year in which the goals were achieved.
  5. Give adequate attention to career planning of your employees.
  6. Promote your 'employer brand' by regularly and consistently communicating the company’s mission, vision and values and by linking it to the business and working methods.
  7. Ask feedback from tenured employees and find out what their motivations are, as well as potential reasons for which they might decide to leave the company. Incorporate this information into your retention strategy.
  8. Organise structured exit interviews so you can prevent other workers handing in their resignation for the same reason.


Notes to editors

About the research

The annual study is developed by Robert Half and was conducted in April 2016 by an independent research firm, surveying 100 HR managers in Australia. This survey is part of the international workplace survey, a questionnaire about job trends, talent management and trends in the workplace.

The study was initiated by Robert Half and conducted anonymously by an independent research firm, among 1,000 Australian office workers.


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