Businesses get creative in the race to retain talent



NAB research shows that after decades of low employee turnover one in five Australians have changed jobs within the last year and almost a quarter are considering leaving their current place of employment.

Of those Australians considering changing jobs, over one in three said COVID-19 has had a big impact on their decision. Importantly, the research also found the key reasons people leave their jobs include lack of personal fulfilment, purpose or meaning, career limitations, mental health concerns and poor pay.


Shifting expectations

Julie Rynski, Executive, NAB Business Bank says many businesses are thinking outside the square to retain their staff.

Julie Rynski, Executive for NAB Business Bank (pictured, right) said: “Many Australians who are considering changing jobs are also looking for a fresh start, with around three in 10 planning to change industry.”

“Clearly the pandemic has shifted the expectations of Australian workers and this research suggests employers now need to work harder to retain talent.

“The good news though is that there are absolutely things small businesses can do to keep good people – especially since pay isn’t necessarily on the top of the list for employees.”

“We’re seeing so many businesses get creative about how they provide a sense of purpose at work and provide clear career pathways to ensure long term team engagement.”

NAB’s research shows job turnover was greatest for general unskilled workers, with almost four in 10 (37%) indicating they had changed jobs in the past year, followed by labourers (29%) and other IT and technology workers (28%).


The Scicluna story

Chris Scicluna from who owns a number of grocery stores across Melbourne said; “Retaining great talent is key to having a successful team.

“Hiring and getting someone new on board is time consuming and expensive so if I can keep brilliant people, it just makes sense.

Appreciation Day at Scicluna’s was a hit with staff.

“As a small business we’re able to be creative about how we reward our team. We’ve had a brainstorm and come up with great ideas including time out to celebrate together and giving people flexibility in their work.

“The most successful activity so far has been closing our store for the day and giving everyone the day off to relax. The feedback from customers as well as the team on the back of this initiative has been overwhelming.”


The push factor

On average, around three in 10 workers surveyed by NAB indicated they were being pushed away from their current jobs by a lack of personal fulfilment and purpose or meaning (30%), lack of career growth (29%), the impact of their current job on their mental health (29%) and poor pay and benefits (27%). Other key drivers included poor work-life balance (23%), burnout (22%) and feeling like a fresh start (20%).

Ms Rynski added, “There are a number of theories why the ‘Great Resignation’ might be happening but a heightened sense of mortality and burnout due to extra work particularly among frontline ‘essential’ workers is certainly high on the list. A strong rebound in the labour market is also giving people confidence they will find a job if they make the jump.”

NAB’s research into resignations comes after unusually low levels of employee turnover in Australia. In fact, the latest data for the year to February 2021, shows Australia experienced the lowest employee turnover since the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) started tracking labour mobility in 1972. The ABS data suggests 7.5% of employed people aged 15 and over (around 1.1 million) changed jobs – down from a peak of 19.5% in 1988-89.



Media Enquiries

For all media enquiries, please contact the NAB Media Line on 03 7035 5015

Related Articles

  • Indigenous Affairs

Kooya – success built on family and community

How 2024 West Australian of the Year and NAIDOC Award Winner Kim Collard made his mark in business and the community.

  • 09.07.2024
  • Time to read 1 min read
  • Indigenous Affairs

NAB Foundation funds critical research on First Nations workplace inclusion

New research is set to detail the lived experience of First Nations Australians at work and the improvements required to create workplaces free of racism, discrimination and bias.

  • 08.07.2024
  • Time to read 3 min read
  • Scams

Customers abandon more than $100m in possible scam payments

NAB’s payment alerts have seen customers abandon more $100 million in payments in the 15 months since the initiative was introduced to digital banking, new insights reveal.

  • 01.07.2024
  • Time to read 3 min read

Quick links

NAB people

Find out about careers at NAB and how we’re creating a healthy, flexible and welcoming workplace for all.