Plummet in employee loyalty should be warning sign to business leaders

 2017 AIM National Salary Survey uncovers complacency in retention of staff

Key results:

  • Over two thirds (69.5%) of employees voluntarily left their organisation in the last 12 months to go to a similar role at another organisation
  • Almost four in five (79.3%) Australian employees leave their organisation to look for a new challenge elsewhere
  • Over half (58.2%) leave their current roles because of limited career advancement opportunities and almost a third (30%) depart due to conflict with a manager
  • Almost half (42.2%) of Australian organisations do not have a formal training policy in place, while training budgets have been slashed by 15% in three years
  • Companies making super contributions above the standard has decreased by 10.3% over three years

Latest findings from the 2017 Australian Institute of Management (AIM) National Salary Survey (NSS), have uncovered worrying signs that Australian organisations are not investing in longer-term strategies to retain good talent.

Released today, the study finds the number one reason employees voluntarily leave their current position, is to go to a similar role at another organisation. This decision is being driven by four main factors – looking for a new career challenge, limited career advancement opportunities in their current role, insufficient financial reward and poor management.

The research also shows employers can be their own worst enemy when it comes to keeping staff engaged, by ignoring these warning signs and investing less in long-term incentives to drive staff loyalty. The study found training budgets have been slashed by 15 per cent in the last three years, with almost half of organisations surveyed lacking a formal training policy of any kind.

As the average salary in Australia continues to fall[1], the number of businesses making super contributions above the standard has also decreased by 10 per cent since 2014. Without the pull of financial reward, what can employers do to create staff loyalty, and avoid a costly and time-consuming rolling recruitment need?

Commenting on the findings, David Pich, AIM Chief Executive, advises leadership teams to be wary of complacency, if they want to retain good staff.

“It is essential for business leaders and managers to look beyond financial incentives to motivate staff, keep them engaged and enjoying their work. The results here are clear – employees want to be challenged, they want career development, they want inspiring managers. Organisations need to invest in clear professional training plans and career progression opportunities, as well as prioritising building and maintaining a positive organisational culture,” said Pich.

Angie Gibson from the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ), knows first-hand about the importance of achieving a positive organisational culture in the retention of staff, having seen direct results from the company’s Well at Work program.

“Our program is steered by an eight-person Wellness Committee, which assesses the effectiveness of current practices, and ensures we look after the emotional, physical, mental, social and occupational health of an employee. We measure job satisfaction through an annual staff survey – for the past three years, we have recorded job satisfaction scores of 93, 85 and 92 per cent, so we know the program is working,” she said.

For over 50 years, the AIM National Salary Survey has offered unrivalled insight into the state of employment in Australia, based on the responses of more than 25,000 employees and 270 job roles. The AIM National Salary Survey is the must-have salary guide for business leaders and decision makers, allowing access to detailed information on average wages in Australia across a broad range of industries.

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[1] Overall salary growth is at 2.8% in 2017, vs. 4.1% in 2012