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Employers struggling to hold onto new recruits

By Kace O'Neill | |5 minute read
Employers Struggling To Hold Onto New Recruits

Aussie businesses are on struggle street, trying to keep new recruits past the probation period.

According to ELMO’s 2024 HR Benchmark Report, it now costs an average of $20,000 to hire a new employee, yet around one in eight are failing to progress past their probation period, costing employers a lot of time and money.

What makes this issue worse is that new recruits are now taking around 35 days to become fully productive in the workplace, an increase of 11 days compared to the 2023 report. When both productivity and resources are being squandered in the hunt for new recruits, it presents a bit of an eye-opening debacle for HR leaders, as ELMO chief executive Joseph Lyons said.


“At a time when productivity is front of mind for most businesses, it’s worth asking whether your talent processes are as efficient as they could be. Given the cost of hiring and the time it takes for recruits to get up to speed, it’s essential for HR leaders to know how successful their hiring and retention efforts really are,” he said.

“Otherwise, they could be wasting time and money, hindering productivity in the process.”

The report specified that in the last three years, one in eight workers have left their jobs within their first year of employment. This, however, increases to over one in five (22 per cent) in Gen Z workers and people currently in junior or entry-level positions, displaying the inability of many organisations to hold onto young workers.

In terms of the reasoning for leaving, numerous causes were highlighted by respondents:

  • Job or organisation did not match up with expectations set during the recruitment process (40 per cent)
  • Poor impression of the organisation (34 per cent)
  • Poor first impression/relationship with manager (32 per cent)
  • Unrealistic expectations from manager (31 per cent)
  • Poor first impression of relationship with team (28 per cent)
  • Poor onboarding experience (25 per cent)
  • Non-existent onboarding process (13 per cent)

Leaving the organisation is one thing, but having a lack of regret after making the decision just further solidifies the damage for said organisation. Of the 12 per cent of workers who left a new role, 92 per cent felt they made the right decision.

On the other hand, for the workers who resided in their new role, only 60 per cent were satisfied with their decision, with five per cent regretting their decision to stay. The remaining 35 per cent declined to answer.

If employee experience wasn’t at the forefront of employer’s priorities, then perhaps this report can be a stark reminder of the importance of the subject. As talent shortages rise, retention becomes a crucial business practice for organisations across multiple industries, and considering the amount of time and resources that go into developing a new recruit, losing them on the basis of poor employee engagement is basic business misconduct.

“Meeting expectations and creating a positive first impression is vital for retaining new talent, and businesses only have a small window of opportunity in which to do this,” Lyons said.

“The better an organisation understands the success of their onboarding programs, the better position they will be in to retain new talent and minimise the impact on overall productivity and ultimately the bottom line.”



The practice of actively seeking, locating, and employing people for a certain position or career in a corporation is known as recruitment.

Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill is a Graduate Journalist for HR Leader. Kace studied Media Communications and Maori studies at the University of Otago, he has a passion for sports and storytelling.