Career Issues Top Reason Employees Consider Leaving

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Lack of career opportunity is the main reason people think about leaving their employers, according to a survey on four continents by global consultants and trainers BlessingWhite.

Of the 3,330 North American workers who participated in the study, one-third expressed some ambivalence about remaining with their present companies, saying only that they would “probably” stay throughout the year ahead. Asked why they might quit, 29 percent of this group cited career concerns:

What is the most important factor influencing your thoughts about leaving the organization?

  • My career. I don’t have opportunities to grown 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%
  • My finances. I want to earn more money. — 14%
  • My job conditions. I don’t have the flexibility, commute, etc., that I need. — 10%
  • My manager. I don’t like working for him or her. — 9%
  • The economy. I think better jobs in my field are available.— 3%
  • My organization’s mission. It conflicts with my personal values. — 5%
  • My colleagues. I don’t want to work with or around them. — 2%

“These ambivalent employees, who are a major segment of every workforce, are essentially opportunistic,” said BlessingWhite CEO Christopher Rice. “They want to pursue their interests and goals but aren’t dissatisfied enough to take action. From a practical standpoint, employees can often satisfy their need for career growth, change or better use of their talents with a current employer, but it's not always obvious to them how they might do so.”

Not surprisingly, work and career are also the top drivers for employees wanting to stay.

What is the most important factor influencing your plans to stay with the organization?

  • My work. I like what I do. — 34%
  • My career. I have significant development or advancement opportunities here. — 15%
  • My job conditions. I have flexible hours, a good commute, etc. — 14%
  • My organization’s mission. I believe in what we do. — 9%
  • No desire for change. I am comfortable here. — 9%
  • My finances. I expect a desirable salary, bonus or stock option in 2008. — 7%
  • My manager. I am committed to this person. — 4%
  • The economy. I don’t think there are other job opportunities for me out there. — 4%
  • My colleagues. I have strong relationships on the job. — 3%

Employers are in a risky place when one-third of employees are thinking about leaving, said Rice. “This group is not engaged or performing at a maximum level of contribution. This is where the manager comes in, the person who is in the right position to influence the performance and satisfaction of employees. The manager needs to have conversations to help people get what they need and to get aligned with what the organization needs from them.” 

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