Press Release


SYDNEY, Australia, September 21, 2021

Gartner HR Survey Shows Purpose and Pay are Growing Priorities for Australian Employees

Work-Life Balance Is a Minimum Expectation. Employees Are Now Searching for Their “Why”, And More Money Too

Compensation increases and the desire for better alignment between personal interests and job responsibilities have risen on the list of factors Australian workers consider in a new employer, according to the latest Global Talent Monitor from Gartner, Inc.

Gartner survey data collected in 2Q21 (April-June) found that nearly one-quarter of Australian employees surveyed (22.5%) actively looked for a new job, while more than half (53.2%) of Australian employees engaged in passive job seeking during that period.

More than half (56.2%) of Australians reported work-life balance as a top five reason to consider a new employer. It also ranked third on the list of motivators to leave their current employer.

However, pay is creeping back up the priority list, with the data showing compensation leapt back into the top three reasons to change jobs, up from ninth place from year-over-year.

Employees are also more likely to consider whether the job responsibilities match their personal interests. ‘Job-interests alignment’ rose two places to eighth in the list of reasons an employee would take a new role. Before the pandemic, it did not appear in the top 10 reasons for potential candidates to join a new organization.

Aussie employees in the driver’s seat

“After the chaos of the last 18 months, Australians have been reflecting on what is important to them and making fundamental changes to both their personal and professional lives,” said Aaron McEwan, vice president in the Gartner HR practice. “Employees are in a better position than ever to be seeking more satisfaction in their employment arrangement.”

This radical reset has created challenges for organizations as employees demand change or decide to seek it elsewhere. Closed borders also mean shorter supply and greater competition for talent.

The Gartner survey found that those who are staying in their roles are less likely to go above and beyond for their employer. Employees reporting high levels of discretionary effort in Australia, traditionally higher than the global average, fell a further 0.4% since last quarter to just 15.6%.

A clear way forward for employers

Gartner’s research offers organizations a clear path forward as most attraction and attrition drivers revolve around management and workplace practices.

“Employers have a clear mandate: evolve the employee experience to avoid paying a premium for new talent,” McEwan said. “Australians are seeing positive indicators within the job market; organizations that do not evolve risk mass resignations and an exodus of talent,”

McEwan said the most effective way to address retention issues is by taking a more holistic – or “human centric” – approach to the employee value proposition. “We know that organizations who make these organizational and cultural changes are more likely to not only retain and attract staff but have a more productive and happier workforce too,” said McEwan.

Table 1. Highlights from the 2Q21 Gartner Global Talent Monitor

Talent Monitor


Global Average

Business Confidence Index



Job Opportunity Barometer



Active Job Seeking



Discretionary Effort



Drivers of Attraction

1.     Work-Life Balance

2.     Location

3.     Compensation

1.     Compensation

2.     Work-Life Balance

3.     Location

Drivers of Attrition

1.     Manager Quality

2.     People Management

3.     Work-Life Balance

1.     Compensation

2.     Manager Quality

3.     Work-Life Balance

Source: Gartner (April 2021)

Editors’ note:

Global Talent Monitor data is drawn from the larger Gartner Global Labor Market Survey that surveys more than 18,000 employees in 40 countries each quarter, including 850 in Australia in 2Q21.

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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