Career advancement opportunities help attract and retain staff 0

US female executiveThree in 10 US employees say they are likely to leave their employer within the next two years as employers continue to experience difficulty with attracting and retaining staff. According to the Global Talent Management and Rewards Survey, from Willis Towers Watson roughly half of employers are experiencing difficulty attracting critical-skill employees, top performers and high-potential employees. More than a third of respondents reported challenges in retaining high-potential employees (37 percent), top performers (36 percent) and critical-skill employees (35 percent). The firm’s Global Workforce Study identified advancement opportunities as key. Over a third (36 percent) cited opportunities to advance as a key reason to join a company and to leave (45 percent). However, only four in 10 (41 percent) indicated their employer does a good job of providing advancement opportunities, while nearly half (47 percent) said they would need to leave their organisation to progress.

In the Willis Towers Watson Global Workforce Study, which surveyed 31,000 employees worldwide, job security is the second-most frequently cited reason employees join a company and the third-most frequently cited reason people would choose to leave their organisation. Employers, however, did not rank job security among the top five key attraction and retention drivers.

Interestingly, employers listed providing challenging work and workers’ ability to have a real impact on the organisation’s performance among the top five reasons they believe employees join a company. Conversely, employees rank those reasons eighth and 18th, respectively.

From the employer perspective, more than half (58 percent) believe they are effective at providing traditional career advancement opportunities, while 42 percent say that compared with last year, career advancement opportunities are improving.

Laura Sejen, managing director, Talent and Rewards, Willis Towers Watson commented: “Employers may be painting a more bullish picture on career advancement opportunities than their employees perceive. In many cases, employers’ positive view on these opportunities may be a reflection of an improving economy rather than better career management practices.

“Given the high percentage of employees who say they need to leave their current employer to advance their career, there is a clear misalignment between employers and employees on this question,” said Sejen.

The Global Workforce Study also found there is room for improvement in employee engagement in the U.S. Roughly one-third (35 percent) of U.S. employees were highly engaged. The survey also identified senior leadership as the top driver of sustainable engagement (i.e., the intensity of employees’ connection to their organisation). However, less than half of employees (45 percent) have trust and confidence in their senior leaders.

“In addition to attracting and retaining talented employees, employers need to focus on engaging employees in order to achieve better business results. Leadership, including supervisors, managers and senior executives, plays a critical role in driving engagement among their employees,” said Sejen.