The top four reasons Australians are looking to change jobs

Australian job changes

Source: Adobe Stock.

The pandemic has shaken-up the global workforce. In Australia, there are more job ads on SEEK than ever before, resulting in the great job boom.

Australians are looking to change their employment, with 34% intending to move within six months, SEEK research reveals. Businesses best equipped to retain and recruit employees are listening closely to workers to understand their shifting priorities. 

SEEK Resident Psychologist & Ambassador Sabina Read and Daniel Kniaz, DiviPay founder & CEO, make sense of the top four reasons Australians are looking to leave their jobs.

25% aren’t getting paid enough 

‘Not getting paid well enough’ isn’t just about the salary. “Sometimes we wear blinkers that a dollar is a dollar, and it’s not,” says Read. There are more important factors than just a salary to different people, and while it’s always a good idea to review salaries, Read suggests employers delve a little deeper into what earning more might actually represent. 

“Earning more might, for some people, mean an opportunity for greater personal development,” says Read. “A higher salary might mean that they can help others, be generous in the community, or help their children. More dollars might mean they can plan, be stable and pay off a mortgage.” 

Through understanding the individual, Read suggests that there are opportunities to provide value beyond remuneration. “Think about what money might represent to people, and how can I help support some of these needs other than through dollars? Is there a way that I can help meet those drivers without simply upping the pay packet?” 

For Kniaz, employers need to bring two things to the table: satisfying work, and regular recognition of employee efforts. “If you’re not providing employees with meaningful work their salary becomes more salient to them and people think ‘oh maybe I can make more money elsewhere,’” says Kniaz. “But often it is masking the greater issue that they’re not happy with the actual work or the recognition they’re getting for their work.” 

Looking for further insight into employee recruitment and retention? SEEK Hiring Advice has everything employers need to stay up to date with employment trends

24% are looking for a fresh start 

An employee wanting a ‘fresh start’ could be a red flag to employers, because there may be deeper reasons that could be the catalyst. “I think there could be some hidden issues at play,” says Read. “A fresh start can be around relationships, around expertise, industry, it could be around location and stakeholders.” For Read, the solution to these issues can only be found by creating an open dialogue with employees. If employees are looking to move on, it’s on employers to ask the difficult questions. 

One way employers can facilitate these conversations is learning some new skills through coaching and training. “Instead of thinking ‘oh this feels awkward and this is a conversation I don’t want to have’’, why not upskill and arm yourself?” says Read. “These are EQ skills, learning how to connect while cultivating trust and being able to listen.”

20% want new challenges and 19% are uninspired

Both Read and Kniaz agree that these statistics both represent similar ideas; that employees are looking to break-up with work that fails to satisfy them. This tends to be represented by repetitive tasks, excessive admin or a lack of purpose, says Kniaz. To counter these issues, employers should look at removing these obstacles. “How do you free up your team? How do you automate the low level, repetitive tasks that they have to do? And the best way to do it is with tools and technology.” DiviPay has found more efficient technology solutions effective in freeing up employees to take on more challenging tasks. Depending on your industry, outsourcing these repetitive tasks can also give employees the time to focus on the more important parts of their roles.

Kniaz also subscribes to an idea called ‘bias toward action’. The premise is that, with a myriad of problems to address, employees are empowered to solve them. “Within the business we won’t tell you how to solve them, but rather support you to go and figure out what the best solution is,” Kniaz says. “You may fail in that instance but, as long as you have a culture that is okay to fail and it’s more about learning, then the person can try again and try and solve that problem in a new way.”

19% value greater job security

The idea of job security is changing. Though the statistics suggest that employees still value job stability very highly, Read believes that employees are in a better position than previously to retain their jobs. “In years gone by we may have thought, gosh, I would like to ask for a pay rise or I would like to know that job security is something I can discuss, but if you’re fearful of losing your job, you stay quiet.”

Now, in a market where there is a greater need to retain and recruit top talent, Read believes that the power has shifted to employees. It means businesses need to find out what job security means to an individual — say, salary or contract — and work proactively to address them. “As an employer, it’s your job to make sense of what human drivers sit underneath these conversations. I would caution employers and managers not to make the assumption that job security means the same to the candidate as the interviewer — these are catalysts for digging a bit deeper.”

Independent research conducted by Nature on behalf of SEEK. Interviewing 4800 Australians – Changing Jobs Sherlock Data. Published Jan 2022.

Read now: When it’s worth presenting and negotiating a counter offer


The way we work has changed and SEEK has all the latest local insights to help you adapt and thrive. Whether you’re a business looking to attract the best talent in the competitive market, a manager wanting to retain your people or a jobseeker hoping to take advantage of the great job boom, SEEK’s advice, tools and resources can help you get there.

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