More than two-thirds of workers plan to look for a new job within the next year - and it is senior employees who are the most restless, a survey has found.

Several years of tightening conditions and reduced opportunities during the recession are now leading employees to consider options outside their workplaces, says Kelly Services, a global human resources firm that surveyed more than 3500 New Zealanders.

Managing director Debbie Grenfell said half of the respondents were happy with their jobs but still wanted a change as they looked for personal fulfilment.

"For employees, the response to years working in a sluggish economy - which has often meant coping with greater demands with fewer staff, lower wage growth and fewer opportunities for promotion - is the significant restlessness we are seeing," Ms Grenfell said.


"Throughout the recession and even through the recovery, employers have had to focus on improving productivity and managing costs."

Baby-boomers (those aged 49 to 66) were most likely to look for another position in the next year, she said.

Three-quarters said they would "definitely intend to look for a new job with another employer within the next year", compared to 69 per cent of Gen X-ers (ages 31 to 48) and 66 per cent for Gen Y-ers (19 to 30).

"Now we are seeing growing competition for top talent - particularly in areas like IT, where skill shortages have remained throughout the downturn," Ms Grenfell said.

"The key here is that employers need to look at a range of ways to engage their staff - giving them opportunities to maintain a good work-life balance and derive 'meaning' from their work."

The ability to excel in chosen fields (76 per cent), having a connection with co-workers (53) and work aligning with personal values (41) were raised as factors that could make work more meaningful.

Meanwhile, Trade Me recorded a 16 per cent jump in job listings last month over the same month last year - but applications per job were down by an average 1 per cent.

"Employers across some sectors are unable to fill roles quickly enough," said the head of Trade Me Jobs, Peter Ashby.


The growth in jobs was led by the Christchurch reconstruction. Engineering jobs were up 24 per cent, trades and services jobs 42 per cent, and construction and architecture 71 per cent.

BNZ chief economist Tony Alexander has said a skills shortage could be looming. "Get ready for a rapid tightening of the labour market," he said last week, predicting more Australian firms might hire in NZ, where costs could be lower.

* Baby-boomers (aged 49-66) are the most likely to switch employers, with 74 per cent planning to look for another position in the next year.
* Gen X-ers (31-48): 69 per cent.
* Gen Y-ers (19-30): 66 per cent.

* Personal fulfilment 48 per cent
* Opportunities for growth 37 per cent
* Pay 10 per cent.

Why move It's all about growing in your career

Rhuta Chinchankar is slightly ahead of the two-thirds of New Zealanders hoping for a new job within the next year - her last day is Friday.

"I like what I'm doing, but for me, I need growth. That's the only reason I looked at other organisations," said the advertising sales consultant, 24.

Opportunities within the workplace had been restricted through the recession, she said.

"When I saw a good opportunity come by, there was career progression and a raise in salary too. At that point, I thought, I need to go ahead."

Ms Chinchankar had noticed a growth in job listings recently, but said you could hardly call it steady.

Three months ago, there might be one or two appropriate job listings. Now there could be as many as seven, she said.

But that would be enough for employees like her to consider a move - as a national survey has found.

"It doesn't surprise me. The two-thirds would be of the view to grow or just explore what they can do."

She had planned to stay with publishers APN for at least two years, and she has done that.

"It got to a point where I thought, if not now, then when?

"I've been working here for two years, and basically I was looking for career progression within here, and I wasn't getting anywhere. So I started applying elsewhere."