Surging cost of living ushers in the ‘big stay’

Job security now more important as part of the Big Stay.

Job security now more important as part of the Big Stay.

Job hopping is slowing in Australia as workers decide to stay put amid rising costs of living. It’s a workplace trend coined “the big stay” and it comes as employment vacancies decline.

Job ad volumes were 22 per cent lower in May 2023 than at the same time last year, SEEK data shows.

The big stay is a trend emerging in US workplaces and it’s in contrast to the great resignation of 2022, which came amid a healthy job market when living costs were lower and workers were prioritising their wellbeing.

Research by recruitment firm Randstad shows Australian workers are now looking for greater job security. Of 5991 workers surveyed, only 16 per cent said they had moved jobs in the past six months, down from 21 per cent in the same period last year.

The annual Randstad Employer Brand Research found 48 per cent of the respondents said the public sector was the most attractive place to work, with government agencies dominating the top 10 list of employers. In 2022, private companies took out the top employer spots.

The research also found evidence Australians are hunkering down and prioritising career progression, with two in three saying it is important employers offer upskilling opportunities.

There are still plenty of opportunities for people to switch jobs in today’s market, said Kerry McQuillan, Randstad director Queensland. But rising interest rates and living costs were making them more hesitant.

“People are still looking to move, but I just think they’re being a lot more cautious about it and, riding it out and thinking, ‘What does the next few months look like?’,” she said.

Rising cost of living is driving longer job tenure, Kerry McQuillan.

“I think a lot of people, especially organisations as well, are being a little bit more cautious about trying to get loads of people on, because the cost of living and everything else is going up, the expectations from salaries have gone up.

“On both sides, organisations are less likely to be taking lots of new people on, but also then candidates are going, ‘Well, I’ve still got to pay my mortgage, I need a stable job. I need to make sure that I’m financially secure, because I’m not sure what’s going to be happening over the next few months’.”

Randstad’s report found the top 10 most desirable employers for 2023 are: 

  1. Federal Department of Defence
  2. Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group
  3. NSW Health
  4. Queensland Government
  5. Federal Government
  6. Federal Department of Health
  7. BHP
  8. Virgin Australia
  9. NSW Department of Communities & Justice
  10. Ramsay Health Care

Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group, which employs more than 15,000 people across its 350 pubs, ranked second because it offered a wide range of career opportunities, interim managing director Paul Walton said.

“For five decades, we have recognised the unique and important role that our pubs play within their communities and taking out second spot in this list is a testament to that fact,” he said.

“Australians are inherently social people and it is immensely rewarding to work in an environment designed to bring people together.”

Topics: Workplace
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