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New Zealanders – a nation of job hoppers?

New Zealanders change jobs often. Of those of us who earn wages and salaries, half have been employed in our present job for less than 18 months.
  • Image, newspapers stacked up highlighting the jobs sections.

    How long New Zealanders stay in their jobs

    New Zealanders change jobs often. Of those of us who earn wages and salaries, half have been employed in our present job for less than 18 months.

    The most-common amount of time we spend in our job is one to three months. This may reflect the number of people on shorter-term contracts and temping. However, there are many employees who have frequent job changes, with over 250,000 wage and salary earners starting a new role every three months.

    Graph showing job tenure in teh 2011 tax year.

    Worker turnover rate measures workforce stability

    The worker turnover rate measures the stability of the workforce, by using the number of new employees who are hired and the number of employees who leave their job.

    A high worker turnover rate indicates a large number of people moving around, and in and out of, the workforce. A low rate indicates greater workforce stability, which could indicate greater employee happiness in their jobs. However, it could also suggest it is harder for people to move between jobs.

    Younger workers and smaller firms have a higher turnover rate

    In 2011, about one in seven workers came or went from a job in any given quarter. This means that in a team of seven people, on average you can expect one to no longer be working in the same job after three months.

    Women have a marginally higher worker turnover rate. Younger workers also have a higher rate, with one in four youth (15–24 years) changing their workplace in any three months. Workers aged 40 years and over have a much lower turnover rate, with only one in ten workers leaving in a three-month period.

    The worker turnover rate also differs between small, medium, and large firms. Turnover tends to be higher for smaller firms than larger firms, suggesting there’s more job movement at smaller firms.

    Graph showing workover turner rate.

    Where our job turnover data comes from

    Statistics NZ’s Linked Employer-Employee Data (LEED) uses existing administrative data drawn from the taxation system, together with business data from our Business Frame.

    LEED provides statistics on filled jobs, job flows, worker flows, mean and median earnings for continuing jobs and new hires, and total earnings for wage and salary earners. This information gives an insight into the operation of New Zealand's labour market and helps explain the causes of overall movements and changes in the labour market.

    Unless otherwise noted, data in this article relates to 2011.

    Source: Statistics New Zealand

Workers aged 40 years and over have a much lower turnover rate.
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