Workplace satisfaction has plummeted over the last three years, according to new research.
Consultancy firm Right Management found in its survey of almost 2,000 Kiwis that only 36% of them felt engaged at work.
This is compared to the 42% of workers feeling engaged in their work in 2009.
Right Management's Kari Scrimshaw said growing work dissatisfaction is a serious problem, and companies could feel it hit their bottom line.
"Engagement in the workplace is a key driver of productivity," she said.
"Low levels of engagement are linked to higher staff turnover and absenteeism, as well as lower product and customer satisfaction."
Workers in hospitality had the lowest engagement at 25.4%, followed by public servants at 28% and retail workers at 30%.
On the flipside, more than 50% of construction workers consider themselves engaged in their work, and 45% of people working for nonprofits.
Scrimshaw said looking at the bigger picture, the overall results could be a "handbrake" on New Zealand's economic recovery and employers need to start paying attention to the needs of their employees.
"The most effective way to improve engagement at work is to support the long-term career goals of employees," she said.
She said managers need to start talking to their staff about their career development to help turn around the trend.