Growing confidence to change jobs means employers should do more to retain staff.
Kiwi workers are getting a surge in confidence, although many feel overqualified for their job.
The findings come from an employee mobility survey by recruitment and HR company Randstad.
National figures show a mismatch between job and education levels and an increase in the New Zealand Mobility Index - from 102 to 112 in the last quarter.
Randstad's New Zealand director Paul Robinson (pictured) says the increase is significant and the highest since the fourth quarter in 2010 when it reached 105.
"It means people are more active when looking for a job and it shows a change. It shows employees there are more options than there were six months ago."
He says the figures relate to business and consumer confidence in the last six months. As that confidence increases, workers become more optimistic. Employees in 32 countries were questioned for the Workmonitor survey.
The global Mobility Index has also increased - but not as dramatically - to 107, with Turkey, Argentina, Brazil and Hong Kong making the most gains.
Globally almost 60 per cent of respondents say their employer has difficulty finding the right person for the job. New Zealand is above the global average, with 65 per cent agreeing.
Finding highly qualified people is an issue for almost half of employers around the world. In Greece, Italy, Spain and Denmark only a third of employers face this problem but in New Zealand the figure rises to 52 per cent.
Finding low skilled workers was not a problem overseas (27 per cent) and especially not in New Zealand, which sat below the average on 22 per cent.
In terms of shortages, 47 per cent of worldwide and New Zealand respondents expect a lack of highly qualified people in the next three years. Although finding lower skilled workers seems less of an issue, 34 per cent expected shortages globally and 33 per cent nationally.
Robinson says New Zealand is hamstrung by what's going on in the global workforce and retaining good talent is important.
"The changes and challenges in our economy mean skills shortages are still present or re-emerging in many industries, and finding the right people for the job in this market remains an issue for many organisations."
He says the engineering, construction and IT industries were finding the search for staff particularly tough.
But there has been movement in our employment market. The survey shows there's been a shift in New Zealand from not actively looking to actively looking for a job. Reasons for looking for a new job include: better employee conditions (38 per cent), personal desire for change (32 per cent) and organisational circumstances (28 per cent).
Results show 40 per cent of Kiwi employees believe they are overqualified for their job.
"They may have stuck it out in the role for some time or they may feel they're ready for the next stage in their career," Robinson said.
He says the figures come with a warning for employers.
"They need to be mindful that as people become more confident about finding a job, good talent could be lost.
"Complacency is dangerous as the job market opens up. If you truly believe you have a fully engaged workforce you could be surprised. Employers should look at their organisation and individual motivators and develop planning and retention strategies."
He says it's clear New Zealanders with skills are in high demand around the world.
"We can't stop the brain drain, but we need to make sure all staff are fully engaged and we know what motivates them. We need to retain the best talent as much as possible."
Although 63 per cent of Kiwi respondents felt their employer invested well in training and education Robinson says more opportunities could be offered.
He says provision of a career path and personal development within an organisation is important. This was something only 56 per cent of New Zealanders felt they were getting, although 60 per cent were focused on getting a promotion.
The survey shows the best career opportunities can be found in Hong Kong, India and Malaysia (73 per cent) while respondents in Spain, Slovakia, Greece and Hungary felt investment in this area was lacking.
Robinson says improving work-life balance is also worth considering.
That could include things like allowing employees to work from home one day a week.
"It's not all about salary. Trust and honest communication equals higher engagement and a steadier workforce."
The survey also shows 70 per cent of Kiwi employees are content with their present roles.
Employees from Nordic countries are the most satisfied and those from Hungary, Spain and Greece the least satisfied.By Andre Hueber Email Andre