Employees in New Zealand have no desire to progress in their careers

With some employees contented to stay in their current job positions, this is causing a lack of career progression for others.
By: | April 4, 2024

Around four out of five Gen Z and millennial employees in New Zealand are not interested in climbing the career ladder, even though many of them are currently halfway through their working careers.

This was one of the key findings from a poll set by Frog Recruitment, an employment agency in New Zealand, which asked 1,035 employees in New Zealand about their primary work motivation and whether they were happy to climb the career ladder.

While 18% of young employees between the age of 20-35 years are taking charge and putting their career ambitions first, 80% of employees aged 35-50 were content to stay where they are in their current positions.

This, said Shannon Barlow, Managing Director at Frog Recruitment, can create workforce issues.

“People can become ‘competent complacent’ in their job. They may have been in their role for a long time and are very good at it, but they may be stale in their work and have stopped exploring new ways of achieving outcomes because they feel they have done it all before. They are settled into the status quo,” Barlow commented.

The poll, however, also revealed that 39% of employees who identify as Gen Z and millennials are also expressing dissatisfaction over the lack of career progression, which, Barlow shared, can be due to the Competent Complacent people remaining within their roles. The result, Barlow said, leads to more employees looking elsewhere for other roles outside the organisation, or to neighbouring countries like Australia.

READ MORE: Flexible work arrangements prevail among organisations in New Zealand

Data from the poll, as Barlow explained, show that the desire to climb up the career ladder falls disproportionately as employees age. 90% of employees who are 50 and older admit that progressing up the career ladder is no longer their primary work motivation, compared to 87% of respondents aged 35-50 and 82% of employees aged 20-35, reported NZ Business.