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Why Employees Aren't Loyal Anymore

Here’s an item that, after I read it, didn’t surprise me at all:  The main reason employees cite for wanting to leave their companies is a lack of career opportunities.

This comes from a study conducted across four continents by BlessingWhite, Inc., a business management and leadership consultancy. BlessingWhite asked workers for the most important factor that pushes them to think about changing jobs. The top three answers offered by more than 3,300 North American workers were:

  • My career – I don’t have the opportunities to grow or advance here. (29%)
  • My desire for change – I want to try something new. (14%)
  • My work – I don’t like what I do or it doesn’t make the most of my talents. (14%)

What these numbers tell us – rather loudly given that this amounts to 57% of the survey base – is that many workplaces don’t place a high enough priority on helping their employees grow their careers and find workplace happiness.

Some employers may believe that’s not their role, but a constant inflow and outflow of talent is a drag on productivity. So, if the warning bell has not been rung already in these businesses, then they may suffer from at least one of these two problems: arrogance and ignorance.

Why? Because, unlike in the business climates from post-World War II up to the 1980s, when people were more likely to stay with an employer for many years, today’s workers are more self-aware and more confident, especially Generation Y (aka: the Millennials or the 20-somethings). If they think they can get a better deal elsewhere, they’ll bolt. If they believe they’re being mistreated, they’ll bolt even faster.

Not convinced? Try this nugget from another study, conducted by Kenexa Research Institute: Only 25% of workers in a global survey believe their organizations “provide strong guidance in goal setting, managerial feedback and career development,” although that percentage more than doubles (to 53%) for respondents from the U.S.

So, while businesses are behind the curve in helping employees with career goals, close to half of U.S. businesses are apparently doing something about it. At the least, that’s encouraging.

What about you? Does your employer (or a former employer) help you in your career development? Or is this something you tackle either alone or with the help of trusted peers or friends?

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