HR Research

AHRI research, reports and white papers

AHRI research aims to inform and support its members, the HR profession, government and the wider business community on issues affecting the workplace and organisational performance. AHRI uses research to form best-practice solutions, influence and lobby relevant bodies, and shape the standards relating to managing people for business productivity. Our research also benchmarks the Australian HR position with international HR trends.


Monthly voluntary turnover poll results

AHRI runs a monthly voluntary turnover poll of members to track trends in employee turnover. The June poll showed that 38% of respondents’ organisations had a voluntary turnover in the 12 months to June 2022 of over 20%. While this was down from the 40% high seen in February 2022, it is up on the 29% in April and 34% in May 2022.

Note that this data is collected via a monthly poll on the AHRI Members’ Lounge on LinkedIn.

Click here for the latest poll results


If I knew then what I know now… Reflections of HRDs internationally

This project, undertaken by global thought leader in the area of coaching and mentoring David Clutterbuck in collaboration with AHRI and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in the UK (CIPD), sought the views of current HR Directors on the question ‘What do you know now that you would have benefitted from knowing before you became an HRD?’ This article reflects the common experiences of those who transition into an HRD role and discusses some common topics amongst the respondents such as what it means to be an HRD, the breadth of responsibility and work-life balance.

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HR Pulse Survey Results

In the latest Pulse survey, AHRI surveyed 760 HR professionals across Australia. Released regularly, these surveys take the current ‘pulse’ of the HR profession. 

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Human Resource Competency Study - Round 8

Since 1987, the Human Resource Competency Study (HRCS) has gathered data on HR professional competencies every 4 to 5 years. Co-Sponsored by Ross Executive Education at the University of Michigan and The RBL Group, the 8th round of the HRCS was conducted from mid-September 2020 through February 2021. With partnership from AHRI and other global HR associations, data was gathered through 360 ratings on 3,594 HR professionals with assessments from a total of 28,640 colleagues from within HR and from the business.

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Performance management in Australian organisations: Current practice and future plans

This study undertaken in collaboration with the University of Sydney Business School draws on survey data obtained in May 2021 AHRI HR professionals on current and planned performance management practices in Australian organisations, particularly to gauge continuity and change in performance management practice prior to and during COVID and plans for change in practice use in 2022-23.

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The Wellbeing Lab Workplace Report

A significant number of Australian workers (53.1%) reported they were living well despite struggles and were demonstrating notable levels of resilience as Australian workplaces began to prepare for the “new normal” in early May 2021 (prior to the latest Victorian COVID-19 lockdown). Building this resilience, however, appears to have left many Australian workers struggling to sustain their levels of wellbeing motivation, feeling less psychologically safe to talk about the struggles they may now be experiencing, and with significantly lower levels of positive emotions, meaning and physical health. They appear exhausted. This report explores these findings and provides effective ways in which workplaces can improve wellbeing.

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The State of Leadership in Australian Workplaces report

A joint AHRI and The Leaders Lab study shows that while nearly 60% of the Australian leaders reported that they felt they were struggling as leaders, only 22.3% of the Australian leaders reported that they were thriving with ease in their workplaces. The report discusses findings relating to the ability of Australian leaders to provide effective leadership and support that will significantly impact on employees’ ongoing wellbeing and performance.

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AI and Meaningful work: exploring the challenges for HR Professionals

This research project, conducted in collaboration with leading academics from the University of Newcastle and RMIT, looked to gain a broad understanding of the impact of AI on the future of job design and/or re-design in Australia. The project team focused on the HR challenges that have or are currently being experienced in the quest for meaningful work in relation to artificial intelligence (AI), particularly in the period post 2020 and the peak of the COVID crisis.

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Employing Older Workers Report 2021

In partnership with the Australian Human Rights Commission, AHRI’s Employing Older Workers Report 2021 aims to understand organisations’ strategies to recruit and retain older workers, and how COVID-19 has impacted those strategies. Further, the intention of the study was to compare how these approaches have shifted in Australia over time, utilising data from 2012, 2014, 2018 and 2021.

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HR Pulse Survey reports

AHRI has undertaken regular surveys to discover what HR professionals are challenged with, what the impact  of the COVID-19 has had on their organisation, and the major pain points HR has had during these times. Released regularly, these surveys take the current ‘pulse’ of the HR profession. 

View Pulse Reports

September 2020
The State of Wellbeing in Australian Workplaces 2020 Report

A joint AHRI and The Wellbeing Lab study, released today, shows that there has been a sharp drop in the proportion of Australian workers who reported they were consistently thriving compared with 2019 – only 7.4% compared with 14.7%. This is not surprising, given what all Australians and Australian workplaces have been going through during COVID-19. 

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The State of Change in Australian Workplaces Report

What if we updated our view of change to more appropriately reflect the current reality of continuous disruption that comprises our world and workplaces? What if we expanded our view of change to embrace the reality that there are not always clear indicators of success or failure, and instead recognise that change is actually an open-ended development process, often with no clear end point?

This report, in conjunction with The Change Lab and the David L Cooperrider Center for Appreciative Inquiry, aims to uncover the disruption that the COVID-19 pandemic is creating for employees, take a closer look at how individuals are truly perceiving change, and how their experience of change is interconnected with their wellbeing.

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August 2020
COVID-19's Impact on Culture Report

The Australian HR Institute, in partnership with Dr. Marc Stigter and Sir Cary Cooper, surveyed 233 HR leaders between the 27th July – 2nd August, on their ongoing experiences relating to culture as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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July 2020
COVID-19 and HR's Wellbeing report

COVID-19 has increased the workload of HR professionals, leading to a negative impact on their health and wellbeing. Considering HR is the department in charge of maintaining organisational wellbeing, this is a worrying sign. Unable to maintain their own wellbeing results in an increase in stress, ultimately leading to burnout.

In partnership with Dr. John Molineux FCPHR of Deakin University and Dr. Adam Fraser CSP, we surveyed 150 HR leaders between the 22 June and 1 July 2020, on their ongoing experiences resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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April 2020
Employment Options Report

Business conditions in Australia are subject to increasingly rapid and regular change, driven by global volatility, more dynamic market conditions, populist governments and

digitally enabled competition. Against this background, the Australian HR Institute has conducted a survey to investigate the workforce needs of modern business in this dynamic market. This report investigated the pressures that inform recruitment of workers by different categories, as well as the perception of employers if legislation were to close off options.

Employment Options Report

The State of Wellbeing in Australian Workplaces

The Wellbeing Lab and AHRI conducted research in 2019 and 2020, investigating Australian worker wellbeing. The 2020 survey saw 1019 workers respond in mid-March, just before the closure of non-essential businesses due to COVID-19. The report discusses findings relating to anxiety and concern due to bushfires, COVID-19 and economic downturn, and provides data, strategies and resources that highlight how to best address worker, team and organisational wellbeing.  


November 2019
Diversity and Human Resource Management Report

The Australian HR Institute partnered with the Centre for Workforce Futures at Macquarie Business School to develop a report on Diversity and Inclusion initiatives in Australia. This project was initiated by the OECD, and confirms that diversity and inclusion initiatives are growing in Australia in recent years. This report aims to grow understanding in best practice for diversity and inclusion initiatives, and identifies areas for growth in the space.

September 2019
5 Hard Truths About Workplace Culture

Culture isn’t something that you can create or control: it’s an environment, one that must be kept clean and healthy. This report conducted by AHRI and Insync has found a disconnect between C-level executives and their wider organisation’s culture.

Download the report

January 2019

The Conference Board, AHRI and a range of international partners surveyed more than 1,400 business leaders, CEOs and C-Suite executives on what organisations will look like in 2025 and beyond, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.  What emerges is an archetype of a company that is fully committed to sustainability as a growth driver, puts the customer at the centre, reshapes the way we work, and achieves the elusive balance between short-term goals and long-term vision

The C-Suite Challenge: The Future-Ready Organization Report


November 2018

The University of Sydney Business School [email protected] Research Group, Diversity Council Australia (DCA) and AHRI surveyed Australian diversity and inclusion (D&I) practitioners about D&I policies and practices within their organisations. This research reveals a shift in the D&I climate within Australian businesses from the perspective of D&I practitioners themselves.

Benchmarking Diversity and Inclusion practices in Australia

November 2018

This research survey conducted by the CIPD provides a snapshot of the HR professional associations in Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. In excess of 1300 people professionals in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) were surveyed about their career paths, values, behaviours, and organisational context.

The People Profession in 2018 APAC Report (CIPD)

November 2018

This research surveyed just over 1000 Australian employees on the state of their wellbeing in the workplace. This project led was by The Wellbeing Lab and Dr. Peggy Kern from the University of Melbourne, and supported by AHRI. This research reveals a renewed way of understanding wellbeing at the individual, team and organisational level, with core recommendations provided on how to improve workplace wellbeing.

The State of Wellbeing in Australian Workplaces

October 2018

Supported by the Australian Human Rights Commission, this is the third research report surveying AHRI members on employing older workers. Research shows that people are now living increasingly longer lives, with purposeful employment one way to ensure they remain connected and energised. Extending peoples’ working lives is also a bipartisan policy imperative of successive governments. However, workplace age discrimination undermines this objective. View infographic

Employing Older Workers Report

AHRI Employing Older Workers Infographic


October 2017

This research report surveyed AHRI members on their views on the future of work, and in particular their hopes and fears. The questionnaire not only drew on respondents’ reflections on their workplace and current work, it asked them to reflect on the future, and think specifically about the work they expect be doing in the future as HR practitioners under three headings: work, the workplace, and the workforce.

Future of  Jobs Report

January 2017

Almost nine out of ten employers (88 per cent) offer flexible hours to their employees, according to a survey of HR practitioners. This was one of the findings of a survey of 913 respondents conducted towards the end of 2016 by the Australian HR Institute.

Inclusion and Diversity Research Report