The EY New Zealand Productivity Pulse™

Solid contributors lead the way

Closing the $280 million public sector productivity gap

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The Pulse profiles New Zealand workers in four groups, with two categories of workers above the national average of 7.54 on a 10-point scale, and two below.

The EY Worker Productivity Scale™ identifies the following key characteristics of the four groups below:

Super Achievers
27% of the New Zealand workforce
Solid Contributors
50% of the New Zealand workforce
Patchy Participants
20% of the New Zealand workforce
Lost Souls
3% of the New Zealand workforce
Productivity ranking of 9 – 10:
Workers in this ‘highly productive’ group are most likely to be satisfied with their jobs and are highly motivated. They believe their skills are well utilised. Personal productivity is extremely important to them. Only 7% of their day is wasted.
Productivity ranking of 7 – 8:
While ‘productive’, this group wastes more time than average on IT issues, social media and sending and replying to emails. They are also almost twice as likely as Super Achievers to spend time doing manually what could have been automated.
Productivity ranking of 5 – 6:
This ‘less than productive’ group is characterised by inertia and is responsible for most of New Zealand’s workplace wastage. Despite containing the least satisfied or motivated workers, Patchy Participants are also the least likely to be planning to leave their organisation.
Productivity ranking of 1 – 4:
The ‘unproductive’ group wastes 20% of the working day. This group is the least likely to have flexible working conditions.


The work priorities of these employees vary dramatically. At the least productive end of the scale, Lost Souls are more focussed on fitting their work into a standard working day. At the most productive end, 63% of Super Achievers are focused on delivering quality.

In the past 18 months, the proportion of Lost Souls has decreased from 7% to 3%, with a corresponding increase in Solid Contributors from 45% to 50% of the New Zealand workforce.  The proportions of Patchy Participants and Super Achievers have remained stable.

What drives productivity?

Once again, The Pulse reveals workers believe “people management” and “organisational model, design and operation” have the greatest potential to impact productivity – rating consistently higher than technology or innovation. This can be seen in the disagreement between Lost Souls and Super Achievers in response to statements about workplace motivation and management.

The following statements – largely people or organisational factors – prompted the biggest polarisation in responses. What’s also interesting is the appearance of two factors about innovation, suggesting greater emphasis on this attribute can benefit our workplaces.

Top ten attributes impacting productivity

  1. “I am clear on what is expected of me in my role.”
  2. “My skills are strongly utilised by my employer”
  3.  “I am motivated to do my job to the best of my ability.”*
  4. “My skills align with the requirements of my role.”*
  5. “I am able to achieve a good work/life balance.”*
  6. “Our organisation embraces and openly encourages innovation.”+
  7. “The work I do is valued by my employer.”
  8. “There is a clear direction for my career within the organisation.”
  9. “I have a clear career path within the organisation I work for.”
  10. “Innovation is actively funded and supported.”+

* More important to workers than it was six months ago
+ New in the top ten drivers of productivity

From a workers’ perspective, driving their productivity is less about the topline strategic activities but the people management areas of motivating, communicating, effectively using skills of workers, and having clear career paths