Employees Will Stay For The Work But Leave For Career

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BlessingWhite's recently released 2011 Employee Engagement study provides insight into the factors that drive employees to stick with - or quit - their current job.

"employees – especially high performers -- will remain in jobs that challenge them, utilize their expertise, and provide meaning" - Chris Rice, CEO, BlessingWhite

In a global study by consulting firm BlessingWhite, the top reason employees worldwide give for staying with their employer is “My work. I like the work that I do.”

What is the most important factor influencing your plans to stay?
My Work. I like the work that I do. 30%
My career. I have significant development or advancement opportunities here. 17%
My organization's mission. I believe in what we do. 11%
No desire for change. I am comfortable here. 10%
My job conditions. I have flexible hours, a good commute, etc. 10%
My finances. I expect a desirable salary, bonus, or stock options. 7%
Other (The Economy, My Manager, My Colleagues)    15%

In contrast, the top reason employees of all age groups give for jumping ship: “My career. I don’t have opportunities to grow or advance here.”

What is the most important factor influencing your thoughts about leaving?
My career. I don't have opportunities to grow or advance here. 26%
My work. I don't like what I do or it doesn't make the most of my talents. 15%
My finances. I want to earn more money. 15%
My desire for change. I want to try something new. 12%
My manager. I don't like working for him or her. 10%
Other (The Economy, Job Conditions, Org. Mission, Colleagues) 18%

"Business leaders are right to be concerned about retention of top talent," said BlessingWhite CEO Christopher Rice. "And while raises may encourage some workers to stick around, our findings suggest that employees – especially high performers -- will remain in jobs that challenge them, utilize their expertise, and provide meaning."

The Employee Engagement Report 2011 explores workplace attitudes among employees on four continents and is based on survey responses of nearly 11,000 employed professionals. Among the study’s other findings:

  • After enjoyable work, career advancement is the second most important retention factor in India, China, Australia/New Zealand and Southeast Asia. In North America and Europe, favorable job conditions (e.g., a good commute or flexible hours) ranks second.
  • Although workers across generations agree on their top reasons for staying and leaving, the youngest workers (Generation Y or Millenials) place higher priority on career opportunities than they do their work. Likewise, Gen Y employees are more likely to leave in pursuit of more money. Baby Boomers, on the other hand, seek more interesting work and change (something new).

Rice advises business leaders to help their workforce rethink career notions. “When employees understand that today’s career is all about creating a portfolio of assignments and projects, not necessarily promotions and new titles, they’re better prepared to concentrate on finding work that they enjoy – and work that can help the organization achieve its goals.”

Intended for line executives and HR leaders, Employee Engagement Report 2011 presents five levels of engagement: Engaged, Almost Engaged, Honeymooner & Hamsters, Crash & Burners, and Disengaged. The recommendations focus on the roles and responsibilities of executives, managers, and individuals in driving engagement every day. The report can be accessed at http://www.blessingwhite.com/eee__report.asp.

The engagement survey was conducted between July 2010 and October 2010, and results were compared with pre-recession data (gathered December 2007). 27% of the 10,914 survey respondents reside in North America. More than half of respondents hold executive, management, or supervisory titles.

About Blessingwhite:
BlessingWhite is a global consulting firm in Leadership Development and Employee Engagement. Based in Princeton, NJ, with locations in London, Chicago, San Francisco and Melbourne, the firm has worked with nearly three million professionals in thousands of organizations. http://www.blessingwhite.com

Contact: Christopher Rice, President & CEO, BlessingWhite, 908-904-1000, ext. 8000, chrisr(at)bwinc(dot)com, or Mary Ann Masarech, Employee Engagement Practice Leader, 203-368-6694, maryannm(at)bwinc(dot)com.

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Mary Ann Masarech
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