Press Releases

SYDNEY, Australia, September 26, 2019

Gartner Says Australian Employees Staying Put as Concerns About the Economy Grow

Experts Advise Employers to Continue Investing in Talent Development Despite Budget Pressures

Australian employees’ intent to stay with their current employer rose 13.4% and active job seeking behavior decreased by nearly 7% in the second quarter of 2019, according to Gartner, Inc.

Data from Gartner’s 2Q19 Global Talent Monitor report revealed 19% of Australian employees are actively job seeking, down from 25.9% last quarter, while 43.7% of employees report a high intent to stay, up from 30.3% last quarter. Australian employees’ confidence in near-term business conditions and long-term economic prospects fell 8% from the previous quarter. Their perception of employment opportunities also declined.

At the same time, discretionary effort levels — the willingness of Australian workers to go above and beyond at work — increased 3.9%, a reversal of the downward trajectory that started in early 2018. However, this increase in effort is unlikely to be good news for employers.

“Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security,” said Aaron McEwan, vice president in the HR practice at Gartner. “While the research indicates employees are working hard and job-seeking activity is down, the decline in business confidence is very telling.”

In normal conditions, a rise in discretionary effort would be viewed positively, but with talks of a recession growing louder and a fear that job cuts are on the horizon, motivated and talented workers are staying put while readying themselves to jump ship.

“It’s apparent that in the midst of economic uncertainty, workers are going into self-preservation mode, digging in while they hone their skills and increase their employability,” Mr. McEwan said.

Continue to Invest in Top Talent

According to Mr. McEwan, the next three months will be critical for organizations to secure the trust and commitment of their top talent. In the list of reasons employees gave for leaving a job, future career opportunity came in at No. 2 (up three places) and development opportunity ranked fourth (up four places).

“With bonus and pay freezes on the horizon, organizations should use development opportunities as recognition to encourage good people to stay. Investing in the career development of your high performers can help to stabilize the organization during a challenging climate and ensure the business is prepared to take advantage of an upturn,” said Mr. McEwan. “Be wary of cutting too deeply. You risk losing your best people.”

Gartner research shows high potential (HIPO) employees bring 91% more value to the organization than non-HIPOs and exert 21% more effort than their peers.

In an uncertain economic climate, employers must establish strategies to better engage, retain and reward their current workforce. Organizations can make progress on these goals by ensuring they prioritize the delivery of a robust Employee Value Proposition (EVP) that focuses on the attributes driving both employee attraction and attrition, including work-life balance and future career opportunities.

Table 1. Highlights From the 2Q19 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.     Work-Life Balance

3.     Stability

Drivers of Attrition

1.     People Management

2.     Future Career Opportunity     

3.     Recognition

1.     Compensation

2.     Future Career Opportunity

3.     People Management

Source: Gartner (September 2019)


Global Talent Monitor data is drawn from the larger Gartner Global Labor Market Survey that is made up of more than 40,000 employees in 40 countries, including 1,851 in Australia this quarter. The survey is conducted quarterly and is reflective of market conditions during the quarter preceding publication.

About the Gartner HR Practice

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