Divide between employee 'doers' and 'leaders' increases
BUSINESSDESK: New Zealand’s public sector is struggling to engage its employees amid anxiety over looming job cuts as the government looks to reduce costs.
A Right Management engagement benchmarking survey of more than 2000 New Zealanders nationwide found 31% of public servants were engaged in their work, compared to 37% of private sector employees. Central government employees were the least engaged on 28%.
Overall, 36% of Kiwis felt engaged at work, down from 42% in 2009, when the last survey was conducted.
"Changes have been going on all around us, that's universal for everyone who has been faced with this difficult economic environment," principal consultant Kari Scrimshaw says. "The results show us how the wider public service is being impacted on a day-to-day basis.
“We know job security is low within the sector, and we’ve heard how morale has suffered in specific agencies. Delivering better public services is an ambitious goal."
Unemployment in Wellington was 6.3% in the first quarter, lower than the national rate of 6.7%. The jobless rate there fell from a 16-year high of 7.1% in the fourth quarter last year, government figures show.
The survey found 35% of public sector employees felt connected to their organisation, down from 43% in 2009.
Overall, 42% of kiwis were engaged with their emploer, down from 53% in 2009.
Ms Scrimshaw says the divide between "doers" and "leaders" is increasing.
Some 57% of senior management employees are engaged in their work up, from 45%. That compares with 32% of workers with no management responsibilities, down from 40%.
"We have a strange scenario in New Zealand," Ms Scrimshaw says. "Our leaders are becoming more engaged as the people who are doing the jobs are becoming less engaged. We have to look at what is happening to the base of our organisations."
For the third year running, engineers topped the most difficult roles to fill, followed by sales representatives, trade workers and accountants and finance staff.