HR Research

The Australian HR Institute (AHRI) is the professional body that supports HR in Australia. Our research aims to educate the HR profession, government and wider business community on issues affecting the workplace and organisational performance.

This research informs best-practice solutions, influences relevant bodies, and shapes the standards relating to managing people for business productivity. Our research also benchmarks the state of HR in Australia in line with international trends.

2024

May

This report is the fifth instalment of AHRI’s Quarterly Work Outlook series and draws on responses from over 600 senior HR professionals and organisational decision-makers. This quarter’s report indicates that demand for labour will continue to grow strongly in the second quarter of 2024, while wage expectations have moderated somewhat since the previous report.   

The report also takes a closer look at the ongoing high employee turnover rates across Australian workplaces. In particular, the report warns that this is costly for employers and may be an understated factor behind Australia’s sluggish productivity growth; both through vacancies and the time required to train new employees for them to become proficient in their roles. 

March

AHRI is proud to partner with Melbourne Business School to present this joint perspective on the future of learning.

This report, supported by AHRI’s Future of Work Advisory Panel, offers actionable insights for HR and learning professionals navigating a rapidly changing external environment, ever-changing workplaces and fast-moving technological advancements. With a focus on five key themes, this report aims to empower HR and learning professionals to align learning with their strategic objectives, ensuring that it contributes meaningfully to both individual development and business outcomes.

February

This report is the fourth instalment of AHRI’s Quarterly Work Outlook series and draws on responses from over 600 senior HR professionals and organisational decision-makers. This quarter’s report indicates that easing economic growth is having an impact on the Australian labour market. Both employment confidence and the level of recruitment difficulties in organisations show a relatively sharp decline compared with the previous quarter. However, despite the looser labour market conditions, wage growth is expected to grow sharply in the next 12 months.

Additionally, this report also takes an in-depth look at recruitment and retention; including employer attitudes to hiring from under-utilised groups, the use of AI in recruitment and employer perceptions of the most effective recruitment and retention tactics.  

January

What lies ahead for HR and our workplaces in 2024? Explore some of the key issues that HR professionals will face this year, and what’s driving them.

2023

November

This report is the third instalment in AHRI’s Quarterly Work Outlook series and draws on responses from 600+ senior business and HR decision-makers.

Like the previous quarter’s Work Outlook, this report examines recruitment intentions and challenges, employee turnover, redundancy intentions and pay intentions. This report finds a sharp rise in redundancy intentions among employers in the December quarter and another modest fall in wage expectations.  The report warns that 2024 will be a more challenging year for employers due to falling productivity growth and rising unit wage costs. This will put further pressure on employers to contain wage costs, either by raising productivity or keeping an even tighter lid on pay rises.

For this quarter’s focus topic, we’ve gathered sentiment around absence and the right to disconnect in Australian workplaces. Key questions include the average number of working days lost to unscheduled absence, the key causes of absence, the most effective interventions that help reduce absence levels and employer attitudes towards a right to disconnect policy.

The report provides useful data for HR professionals, executives and boards to help inform key business decisions, and will act as a helpful tool for policy development and decision-making for federal and state government departments and other agencies

October

AHRI’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Panel has developed this Futures Paper to support organisations, DEI specialists and HR professionals to build more productive and inclusive workplaces, and to contribute to the practice of DEI in Australian organisations.

The increase in hybrid or remote working represents one of the largest changes in Australian workplaces in generations.  In recent months, the Australian media has reported how some employers are actively encouraging, or in some cases, mandating employees to return to the office or physical place of work. In addition, some research is suggesting that hybrid working patterns will revert back to the pre-pandemic trend.

This report explores whether these stories are representative of Australian workplaces by comparing our baseline Hybrid and Flexible Working 2022 data, which includes more than 1,000 employers, with the 2023 survey data.

August

This report is the second instalment in AHRI’s Quarterly Work Outlook series and draws on responses from 600+ senior business and HR decision-makers.

Like the previous quarter’s Work Outlook, this report examines recruitment intentions and challenges, employee turnover, redundancy intentions and pay intentions.

For this quarter’s focus topic, we’ve gathered sentiment around productivity, training and performance in Australian workplaces.

The report provides useful data for HR professionals, executives and boards to help inform key business decisions, and will act as a helpful tool for policy development and decision-making for federal and state government departments and other agencies.

May

A new quarterly report offering a forward-looking view of the work environment facing HR and business leaders across Australia.

Each report will examine recruitment intentions and challenges, employee turnover, redundancy and pay intentions, and other topical workplace issues.

This first survey of 614 Australian senior business decision makers records a Net Employment Intentions Index of +45 for the June quarter. This index score is calculated by taking the percentage of employers intending to increase staffing levels and subtracting the percentage of employers intending to decrease staffing levels over the period.

April

AHRI is proud to partner with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) for a fourth time on this important report, providing insights into the employment climate for older workers and the shift in perceptions around Australia’s ageing workforce.

The survey data in this report provides an update on the employment of older workers against time series data from 2014, 2018 and 2021. This year, the survey highlights trends around elevated employee shortages, a sharp fall in the increase in employment levels of older workers over the past year and evidence of ageist employment practices in some Australian workplaces.

This research provides a wake-up call to organisations to consider older workers more carefully when developing diversity, equity and inclusion strategies.

February

The ethical and business cases for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are well known across Australian workplaces. More recently, staff shortages, one of the most significant challenges facing Australian organisations in 2023 has emerged as another compelling reason for organisations to ensure their workplaces can attract, support, and retain a diverse workforce.

While much of the public debate is dedicated to the role that migration and skills can play in addressing staff shortages and other challenges; less attention is given to the impact that diverse, equitable and inclusive workplaces can have in attracting and retaining staff.

The Australian HR Institute (AHRI) undertook research in November and December 2022 to provide a perspective on the current state of DEI in Australian workplaces. The research included a survey of 307 HR professionals and gathered a number of case studies drawn from respondents.

2022

December

The human resource (HR) profession in Australia has faced many challenges and crises. Most recently the COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on the profession. The purpose of this research was to examine the current state of the profession through understanding how HR now operates and the emerging issues for professional practice.

October

The Wellbeing Lab Workplace Survey was first conducted in September 2018 with a sample of 1,002 randomly selected full-time workers representative of the Australian workforce. Since this time annual surveys have been conducted to better understand the factors that support and undermine workplace wellbeing. The 2022 report created in partnership with AHRI builds upon findings over the past three years and defines the top 5 truths the 2022 survey has delivered whilst exploring the workplace implications and actions.

This report, based on a survey of more than 1, 000 Australian employees, explores the adoption of practices that demonstrate how cared for employees feel by their leaders in Australian workplaces. The survey also includes questions relating to the relationship between caring cultures and performance.

August

AHRI conducted a survey of 1177 HR professionals across Australia to explore employers’ mindset on hybrid working, flexible working practices and productivity.

June

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.

2021

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

2020

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. 

September

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. 

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.

August

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.

July

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.

April

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.

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.  

2019

November

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

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.

January

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

2018

November

The University of Sydney Business School Migrants@Work 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.

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.

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.

October

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

2017

October

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.

January

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.

2012