Back To Listing

Contented Kiwis: job satisfaction in New Zealand

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2012 – September 2013 (n = 9,585), Base: Australians in paid employment; Roy Morgan Single Source (New Zealand), October 2012 - September 2013 (n= 7,620). Base: New Zealanders 14+ in paid employment
With the festive season around the corner, many of New Zealand’s workers will be looking forward to taking some well-deserved leave. But judging by the high levels of job satisfaction among Kiwis in paid employment, returning to work after the break won’t be such a bitter pill to swallow...

According to the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research, 64.7% of New Zealanders are in some kind of paid employment. Of these, 77.2% are satisfied with their job, a slightly higher proportion than in Australia (75.4%). This figure is derived from the percentages of workers who are very satisfied with their job (34.4%) and those who are satisfied (42.8%).

Disgruntled employees are few and far between, with just 1.8% of Kiwis in paid employment feeling very dissatisfied with their jobs and 5.3% feeling dissatisfied, both lower than in Australia. The proportion of employees who feel neither satisfied nor dissatisfied is similar in both countries.

New Zealand vs Australia Employment Job Satisfaction


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2012 – September 2013 (n = 9,585), Base: Australians in paid employment; Roy Morgan Single Source (New Zealand), October 2012 - September 2013 (n= 7,620). Base: New Zealanders 14+ in paid employment

The Gisborne region is home to the country’s happiest workers, with 46.5% reporting that they are very satisfied with their job, while Nelson workers are the likeliest to be very dissatisfied (5.5%).

Factors influencing job satisfaction

Like their neighbours across the Tasman, New Zealand’s most satisfied employees tend to be those who receive recognition for a job well done. Almost 60% of working Kiwis feel satisfied with their job recognition — and a mighty 93.7% of those are also satisfied with their job. (In contrast, 35.1% of workers dissatisfied with the recognition they receive on the job are also dissatisfied with their job: almost five times the national average.)

Not surprisingly, salary plays a major role in determining a worker’s job satisfaction. Just over half (50.7%) of New Zealand’s workers rate their salary as good or very good, and of those, nearly 90% (89.7%) are satisfied with their job.

Coming a close third is job security: 52.3% of the Kiwis in paid employment consider their job security to be good, with 88.3% of those also satisfied with their job (compared to 45.8% of those who feel their job security is poor).

Pip Elliott, General Manager, Roy Morgan Research NZ, says:

“Overall, New Zealanders in paid employment are a contented bunch. More than three quarters of them are satisfied with their jobs, a slightly higher proportion than their Australian counterparts, and noticeably more than a decade ago, when the national job satisfaction rate was 71.4%.

“Our findings indicate that an employee’s job satisfaction is influenced by key certain factors. As expected, a healthy pay packet is one of them, but recognition for one’s work is the most important. In these uncertain economic times, a sense of job security also impacts on how satisfied a worker feels overall with his or her job.

“Roy Morgan’s in-depth profiles of different kinds of employees (satisfied or dissatisfied, those who think their job security is good, and so on) provide an invaluable resource for organisations keen to foster a more positive workplace culture.”

For comments or more information please contact:
Roy Morgan - Enquiries

Office: +61 (03) 9224 5309

Related research reports

View our extensive range of Employment and Unemployment Profiles, including Employees who are satisfied with their job, Employees who are dissatisfied with their job, Employees who are satisfied with job recognition and more.

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Roy Morgan Research New Zealand

Roy Morgan Research was set up in New Zealand in the 1990s and has been collecting information across a wide range of industries in New Zealand ever since.  Roy Morgan currently has over 10 years of trended data on a geographically and demographically representative sample of over 12,000 New Zealanders aged 14+. 

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%