BDO Business Wellbeing Index April 2024

What are the big issues impacting your business and wellbeing?

Kia ora and welcome to the fifth BDO Business Wellbeing Index report, our twice-yearly study of business performance and wellbeing in Aotearoa New Zealand. Based on a nationwide survey of more than 650 business leaders in March 2024 - the largest sample to date - our survey provides timely insights on the big issues facing business leaders, now and over the coming six months, both at a national and sector level

Most importantly, our Index offers practical tips for business leaders in navigating their priority challenges. In many cases, the issues faced in your business are likely to be in common with your industry peers. We encourage you to reflect on the report's insights and tips, and start conversations with your networks to navigate a successful path ahead.

In helping start the conversation on the big issues, we invited a panel of experts to discuss our report and share insights for the business community. Watch the vodcast featuring journalist Patrick Gower who interviews Martin Veitch, BDO National Head of Advisory, and Kimberley Symon, BDO Advisory Partner.


This report has been developed for device-friendly viewing in a web-based format (no PDF attachment). Please click on the icons below to view our report insights in each section; Business performance, Wellbeing, Sector insights & Tips

Reality bites for business leaders as economic pressures impact business performance and wellbeing

The positive sentiment seen immediately after the 2023 General Election has subsided for New Zealand’s business leaders, who are now feeling more negative than ever when it comes to their business performance and finances.

Our April 2024 BDO Business Wellbeing Index shows record low levels of business leaders feeling positive about their current overall business performance (53%). Similarlybusiness financial sentiment is also at a record low with just 41% feeling positive about this measure. Looking ahead, only 60% of business leaders expect to feel positive about their overall business performance in six months’ time. 

Factors driving this negativity include economic pressures, financial concerns and political factors, showing the tough market conditions experienced by many business leaders in the past few years have not yet abated.  

Overall, the survey results reflect a return to the overarching trend we’ve seen across most previous survey waves, where wellbeing and business financial measures track in a similar direction. After a short-lived spike in business leader wellbeing in the weeks immediately following the October 2023 General Election (at the time of our previous survey), our March 2024 survey shows wellbeing has again declined, in line with business financial sentiment.  

The March 2024 WHO-5 Wellbeing Index* score of 68 (reflecting wellbeing over the past two weeks), is down 6 points from October 2023’s record high - yet still remains higher than during the two measures prior to the General ElectionIt’s positive to see our business leaders adopting flexible work practices, managing boundaries, and delegating work in order to remain mentally healthy in their business lives. 

This decline in sentiment likely reflects that while we witnessed a brief uplift in optimism following business-friendly campaign promises by the new coalition Government, the underlying financial challenges have remained - and there is perhaps now a realisation among business leaders that - politics aside - a wider economic turnaround is not an overnight fix  

Wellbeing and business financial sentiment resume similar paths post General Election

WHO-5 Wellbeing Index* vs % feeling positive about business financials (last 2 weeks)

Final comment: Navigating the big issues facing New Zealand businesses

Our BDO Business Wellbeing Index shows a return to reality for many New Zealand business leaders after a surge in confidence immediately after the 2023 General Election. As high interest rates, inflation, cost of living pressures, and associated financial challenges take hold, business leaders across locations and sectors are facing some tough operating conditions. We know business performance and wellbeing are interconnected, and in challenging times it’s essential to take steps to focus on not just business metrics, but wellbeing too.  

Starting the conversation

As a business owner or leader in New Zealand, it's important to know you're not alone. Accessing support can be as simple as starting a conversation with your friends, whanau, and business community. For practical guidance, view our report's tips section or reach out to your BDO adviser. For wellbeing support, view our report's wellbeing section here.

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About the report

Launched in June 2022, the BDO Wellbeing & Business Performance Index – BDO Te Rangahau o Ngā Hauora Pai - is a unique biannual study exploring the relationship between wellbeing (leveraging the World Health Organisation’s globally recognised WHO-5 Wellbeing Index methodology) and business performance in the New Zealand business sector.