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Retention factors among administration staff in the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville campus.

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Retention of skilled employees is key to building and maintaining successful organizations, including higher education institutions. There are many factors that contribute to the retention of employees such as; compensation, career development, organizational culture, leadership, work environment, work-life balance, job security, participation in decision-making and good relationships, to mention a few. Both monetary and non-monetary rewards are highly important to keep employees motivated, satisfied and productive. Failure to retain employees often results in high costs of recruitment and loss of one competent employee to a competitor institution strengthens the competitor’s advantage. The University of KwaZulu-Natal faces prolonged staff turnover, thus, this study aimed at identifying retention factors among the administration staff of the institution. The objectives of the research were to; investigate the retention factors, to identify the potential causes of seeking alternative employment. This was a mixed method study which adopted the descriptive survey research design. A survey questionnaire was sent to 103 administration staff and six (6) staff members from the Human Resources Department were interviewed. The findings of the study revealed that the highest retention factors are; overall positive relationships between co-workers, strong inspiration from leadership, good work environment, which provides employees with a sense of belonging and which makes it easier for the employees to adapt to the UKZN culture, job security assurance in the midst of economic and higher education challenges and lastly, fee remission, which is a huge benefit that allows employees and their families to study at no cost. Furthermore, the results also showed that the staff would seek alternative employment due to low salaries and incentives, lack of promotion opportunities, lack of work-life balance, limited career growth and less participation in decisionmaking. The study therefore recommended that the university should improve on offering competitive salaries and giving incentives to hard working employees. In addition, the institution needs to put up a promotion strategy, increase ways of career development and engage employees concerning decisions.


Master’s Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.