Press Releases

SYDNEY, June 11, 2019

Gartner Survey Finds More Australian Workers Ready to Quit Their Jobs

In the pursuit of growth and productivity, Australian workplaces have exhausted staff morale and decimated effort levels, with employees now on the brink of burnout and ready to quit, according to a recent survey by Gartner, Inc.

Data from Gartner’s 1Q19 Global Talent Monitor reveals that discretionary effort levels — the willingness to go above and beyond at work — have dropped to the lowest point since 1Q14, suggesting that without change, the workforce simply cannot give any more. In Australia, 15.7% of employees reported high discretionary effort levels in 1Q19, only slightly above the global average of 15%, and down from a high of 23% in 2Q17.

“Organizations have stripped the fat in every area of operations as they look to drive efficiencies and move their business into the future,” said Aaron McEwan, Advisory Leader in the Gartner HR practice. “Growth targets are high, and for years, organizations have expected their workers to do more with less and achieve continuous results against a backdrop of constant change and increasing complexity.”

“Workers are acutely aware of what their employers want from them; they’re feeling pressure to work longer hours, often without pay, and take work home in order to meet deadlines. With the added stress of ‘always on’ technology and flat wage growth, it’s not surprising that employees are feeling overworked, disrespected, stressed and anxious,” added Mr. McEwan.

Gartner’s data reveals that the No. 1 reason employees cite for leaving their job is respect, or lack of it. Respect rose seven places in 1Q19 to become the leading driver of attrition among Australian workers. This was followed by manager quality, up two places.

“To see these indicators of dissatisfaction and disengagement so early in the year is alarming and should be a wake-up call to employers. There’s a long year ahead and growth targets are not going away. We need a workforce that is energized, committed and focused on delivering results,” warned Mr. McEwan.

Job seeking behavior up; intent to stay drops

In 1Q19, Australian employees’ intent to stay fell 8%, while active job seeking increased by 5.6%. According to Mr. McEwan, when workers are fed up and tired, their first instinct is flight over fight.

“Even though the external job market is not particularly favorable for candidates today, leaving becomes a more attractive prospect than remaining in a job where you feel undervalued and mentally exhausted,” said Mr. McEwan.

Declutter to improve workplace wellbeing

“Organizations need to declutter,” said Mr. McEwan. “They need to strip away time-intensive, low-value tasks that slow people down. This could include using technology in new ways; it could also mean removing technology from certain processes.”

Reducing the number of steps involved in reviewing and signing-off on annual leave or expense reports, reducing reporting or automating workflow are just some of the small changes organizations can make to help workers have a productive and satisfying day.

In addition, Gartner recommends employers implement a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that focuses on what employees value most. Data from Gartner’s 1Q19 Global Talent Monitor shows that the top drivers of attraction for Australian employees are work-life balance, a convenient location and respect. Organizations with attractive EVPs can reduce the compensation premium needed to attract qualified candidates as well as potentially decrease annual employee turnover by just less than 70%.


Table Highlights from the 1Q19 Global Talent Monitor

Talent Monitor


International average

High Intent to Stay



High Discretionary Effort



Job Opportunities



Drivers of Attraction

1.     Work-Life Balance

2.     Location

3.     Respect

1.     Compensation

2.     Future career opportunities

3.     People management

Drivers of Attrition

1.     Respect

2.     Manager quality

3.     Work-life balance

1.     Compensation

2.     Work-life balance

3.     Stability

Source: Gartner (March 2019)

Each quarter, the Global Talent Monitor is sourced from more than 40,000 employees in 40 countries, to offer the most authoritative look at the latest global and country-level data on what attracts, engages and retains talent. The survey is conducted quarterly and is reflective of market conditions during the quarter preceding publication. The 1Q19 survey included 1,909 respondents in Australia.

About Gartner ReimagineHR Conference

Gartner experts will provide additional insight into labor and talent issues at the Gartner ReimagineHR Conference, August 6-7 in Sydney, Australia. Gartner ReimagineHR is the premier event for HR leaders around the world. Join Gartner and senior HR executives to learn actionable strategies to support organizational performance. Gartner ReimagineHR will also be held September 18-19 in London, and October 28-30 in Florida. Follow news and updates from the events on Twitter using #GartnerHR.

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