To keep staff NZ firms have to step up

International employers increasingly threaten to steal New Zealand's best generation Y talent within the finance sector by offering more attractive salaries and career opportunities than the locals.According to new research - Generation Y: Realising the potential – conducted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and Mercer, young finance professionals have a clear vision of their career progression, demand job security and are motivated by money.

International employers increasingly threaten to steal New Zealand’s best generation Y talent within the finance sector by offering more attractive salaries and career opportunities than the locals.

According to new research - Generation Y: Realising the potential – conducted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and Mercer, young finance professionals have a clear vision of their career progression, demand job security and are motivated by money.

Head of human capital at Mercer in New Zealand, Sharon Spence, said the new findings are a wakeup call to employers within the sector, particularly in New Zealand.

Given the labour market is recovering significantly quicker in Australia, many local professionals continuously “keep an eye on what’s going on across the Tasman,” Ms Spence said.

As the region’s financial hub housing many of the major banks’ head offices, Australia particularly represents an appealing place, promising higher salaries and greater career opportunities.

“New Zealand employers have a role to slow down the ‘brain drain’ and show their employees that dynamic career opportunities do exist on New Zealand soil.

“Given the Australian economy never went into recession … and their labour market is picking up very quickly, I imagine the number of people looking for opportunities over there is likely to start increasing.”

Ms Spence said while during the economic downturn the migration of local professionals was decreased, it is picking up again.

“As economies begin to recover there is always going to be a temptation for talented professionals to stretch their wings both for personal and professional experience.”

The survey – one of the biggest ever studies of the youngest generation in the workforce – reveales that most Gen Y finance professionals are satisfied with their current role but are concerned about the future, with half suggesting their organisation is not able to offer them sufficient career development opportunities.

While New Zealand will always have to face the challenge of retaining young talent, there are many things companies can do to keep their staff rather than “give up a fight,” Ms Spence said.

“There are great opportunities for New Zealand organisations to talk to their talented people and try to understand what it is that may make them want to leave and on the flip side of that, what they need to stay.”

Employers must thoroughly understand their staff needs to have a chance at winning the war over talent against international competitors, or risk losing their employees.

Local companies must embrace career aspirations of the youngest generation and offer dynamic career routes that capitalise on their finance skills, and learn what kind of experience, salaries, packages and career opportunities their employees are looking for.

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