Press Release


SYDNEY, Australia, April 29, 2021

Gartner HR Survey Shows a Quarter of Australian Employees Are Seeking a New Job

Work-life Balance, Manager Quality and Respect are the Top Three Reasons Australian Workers Cite for Leaving Their Organization

Amid positive signs of economic recovery, 24% of Australian employees are actively seeking other employment, according to a survey by Gartner, Inc.

The most recent Gartner Global Talent Monitor report reveals burned out workers are ready for change, with the data showing a 2.6% decrease in workers’ intent to stay with their current employer in 4Q20. Active job seeking increased nearly 5% from 3Q20.

The report also shows a massive 25% increase in employee business confidence in 4Q 2020 from the previous quarter, representing a return to pre-pandemic levels. Workers are also more confident that new employment opportunities are available to them, according to the survey data.

Exhausted workers are less engaged

The proportion of employees showing high discretionary effort – willingness to go above and beyond for their employer – has fallen to 16% in Australia, below the global average of 16.5%. Overall, just 9% of Australian workers are considered ‘engaged’, showing both high discretionary effort and high intent to stay with their current employer.

“For many workers, 2020 was incredibly tough,” said Aaron McEwan, vice president in the Gartner HR practice. “As Australians observe positive indicators for economic recovery, many have been waiting for recognition for their efforts or a change of pace from their employer that simply has not materialized.”

After a challenging year, loyalty from workers has run out

Work-life balance, manager quality and respect are now ranked as the top three reasons workers cite when leaving an organization. Future career opportunities and compensation both dropped four places on the list of attrition drivers and now sit at six and 10, respectively. 

“Workers want to see the introduction of systems to better support work-life balance. There is also an expectation that management will step up and show more respect and appreciation for hard work through cultural change and tangible incentives,” Mr. McEwan said.

Faced with new hybrid workplace models, employees demand balance

As employers plan their return to the office, employees are demanding more work-life balance, naming it as the top driver of attraction to a new organization. Location and respect round out the top three factors employees are considering when evaluating new employers. Employers that aren’t keeping up with the needs of workers in a post-COVID environment risk a decline in productivity or may even face a mass staff exodus.

“Organizations must be quick to review their employee value proposition to ensure it’s in-line with what the post-COVID workforce is seeking,” said Mr. McEwan. “Taking away remote work options would be a risky move for employers, as many employees believe they have demonstrated they can be trusted to work from home. Instead, provide compelling in-office ‘experiences’, real flexibility and genuine time off to keep your best talent.”

Table 1. Highlights from the Gartner Global Talent Monitor, 4Q 2020

Talent Monitor


International Average

Business Confidence Index



Job Opportunity Barometer



Active Job Seeking



Discretionary Effort



Drivers of Attraction

1.     Work-Life Balance

2.     Location

3.     Respect

1.     Compensation

2.     Work-Life Balance

3.     Stability

Drivers of Attrition

1.     Work-Life Balance

2.     Manager Quality

3.     Respect  

1.     Compensation

2.     Future Career Opportunity

3.     Work-Life Balance

Source: Gartner (April 2021)

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 1,557 in Australia quartering 4Q20. The survey is conducted quarterly and is reflective of market conditions during the quarter preceding publication.

Gartner clients can read more in the report ‘Global Talent Monitor 4Q20: Update on Workforce Activity’.

About the Gartner HR Practice

The Gartner HR practice brings together the best relevant content approaches across Gartner to offer individual decision makers strategic business advice on the mission-critical priorities that cut across the HR function. Additional information is available at Follow news and updates from the Gartner HR practice on Twitter and LinkedIn using #GartnerHR.


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