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7 in 10 employees unhappy with career opportunities

Traditional, linear career paths where employees climb the corporate ladder one promotion at a time are a thing of the past, says the company.

It stresses that today’s flat organisational structures mean employees spend more time at each job level roughly three more years than in 2010.

The number of promotion opportunities have decreased over the last decade as a result of companies removing positions and management layers to save money. CEB’s survey of more than 12,000 employees worldwide found that a lack of future career opportunities is the number one reason why people quit their job. Employee turnover, in addition to stressing existing teams and slowing productivity, costs organisations over &pound16,000 per employee – a figure that can quickly add up for big companies. 

In lieu of opportunities for upward mobility, employees are making lateral moves that create the illusion of career progress, a choice that only adds to their overall dissatisfaction. 

Rather than encouraging an environment where promotions are the measure of career progression, companies should build growth-based career cultures where moves across functions are not only planned but encouraged. 

Providing better career opportunities for employees means organisations can decrease turnover by 33%, saving an organisation with 10,000 employees &pound4.9m per year.

“Employees don’t jump for joy at the idea of a lateral move because companies don’t promote such movements as being beneficial to career development,” said Brian Kropp, HR practice leader at CEB. 

“To continuously improve skills and build job satisfaction, employers and employees need to start thinking about careers in terms of continuous growth rather than focusing on promotions. Increasing job satisfaction does more than keep employees happy – it can save significant money by reducing unwanted turnover.” 

The key to building a growth-based career culture is to create reciprocal value between employee and organisational interests. In these career partnerships, employees receive the development they are seeking to grow their careers and organisations decrease the skills gap by helping employees build those capabilities the business needs. These partnerships are three times more effective at increasing employees’ satisfaction with their careers than when employees are encouraged to own their individual career path.

“While employees should play an active role in their own development, they shouldn’t be encouraged to go at it alone,” Kropp added. “When organisations approach employee career paths as a partnership and make development a regular part of conversations, not only do they improve employee engagement but they also ensure development happens where the business needs it most.”

To build career partnerships and create growth-based cultures that provide competitive and satisfying careers for employees, companies should:

• Design careers around experiences that allow employees to grow with the organisation

• Motivate employees with employability – the capabilities, skills, knowledge, experiences, achievements and personal attributes that make him/her more valuable to an employer – rather than title progression

• Deliver targeted internal job opportunities to employees before they actively look for a job. Only 29% of employees currently see career opportunity at their organisation and

• Overcome talent hoarding by creating a talent brokerage that allows managers to both import and export talent, increasing their willingness to share by 50%.



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