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Career Growth Or Stalled Progress: Employees Reveal The State Of Career Development In The Workplace

A New Study Of 3,577 Employees Reveals The Dire State Of Career Growth For Today's Employees

It’s essential for today’s employers to have a reputation as a great place for employees to experience career growth. The more a company fosters career growth for its people, the more it will attract and recruit top talent, retain highly engaged employees, build its own succession plans, and employ a highly skilled workforce.

Unfortunately, a new study of 3,577 employees reveals that the vast majority of employees do not think that their company is fostering employees’ career growth. Here are some highlights from the study:

  • Only 18% of employees are always excited by their career growth and progress
  • Only 23% of employees always think they have the kind of training opportunities to foster career growth and advancement
  • Only 19% of people see a path to advance their career at their current employer
  • Only 20% of employees believe that their assigned individual goals for this year will help them progress in their career
  • Only 19% of employees feel like their daily work is bringing them closer to their long-term career goals

STUDY OVERVIEW
Respondents to the questionnaire answered 20 questions about various aspects of their career growth at their current employer. Respondents for the combined study represented the following demographics. GENDER: Female (55%), Male (45%) -- COMPANY SIZE [EMPLOYEES]: 1-99 (23%), 100-499 (18%), 500-9,999 (38%), 10,000+ (20%) –- ROLES: Administrative/Support personnel (20%), Professional (37%), Director & Manager (30%), Executive (5%), Other (8%) –-AGES: 18-25 (8%), 26-30 (22%), 31-35 (20%), 36-40 (19%), 41-50 (20%), 51-60 (8%), Over 60 (3%).

FINDING #1: Most Employees Are Not Excited By The Way Their Career Is Progressing

Employees were asked to rate the statement "I am excited about the way my career is progressing." As you can see in the analysis below, only 18% of employees are always excited by their career growth and progress.

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Being excited by ones career growth is a critical factor in employee engagement. The following chart shows that employees who are always excited about the way their career is progressing are 179% more engaged (likely to recommend their company) than those who are never happy with their career growth.

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Overall, employees who are excited by their career progress and career growth feel that they are advancing in their careers, which can lead to increased employee engagement, motivation, and loyalty to the company. But those who aren’t excited may be more likely to leave the company in search of better career opportunities. This information can help the company understand the factors that influence employee career satisfaction and take steps to support and encourage employee career growth and development. This can also help the company retain top talent and create a positive work environment where employees feel valued and supported in their careers.

FINDING #2: Not Enough Employees Are Getting The Training To Advance Their Careers

Employees were asked to rate the statement "I have access to training opportunities to advance my career.” As the chart below shows, only 23% of employees always think they have the kind of training opportunities to foster career growth and advancement.

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There’s a huge benefit to ensuring that employees have access to the kind of training that drives career development. As depicted in the chart below, people are 141% more engaged when they have access to the kind of training that fosters career growth.

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When employees feel empowered to grow and progress within the company, they’re likely to experience increased employee engagement, job satisfaction and motivation. This can also help attract and retain top talent as employees are more likely to stay with a company that provides opportunities for career growth. This information can help the company assess its efforts to provide opportunities for career advancement and make changes to better support employee growth and retention.

FINDING #3: Even Training To Maintain Employees’ Current Skills Is Lacking

Participants evaluated the statement "I have access to training opportunities to keep my knowledge and skills current.” The graph below indicates that only 26% of employees report having access to training opportunities to keep their knowledge and skills current.

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Even though it’s not exactly the same as career growth or career advancement, having the professional development and training to keep ones skills current is still incredibly powerful as an employee engagement and retention tool. In fact, employees are 145% more engaged when they always have those training opportunities.

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Keeping employees’ skills current with training provides a gauge of the company's investment in employee development. A positive response means that employees feel supported in their ongoing learning and development, which can increase job satisfaction, motivation, and ultimately performance. It also signals that the company values employee growth and recognizes the importance of continuous learning in a rapidly changing job market.

FINDING #4: A Small Percentage Of Employees See Paths To Advance Their Careers At Their Current Employer

Study respondents rated the question "I see a path for me to advance my career at my current employer." Sadly, as demonstrated by the chart below, only 19% of people see a path to advance their career at their current employer.

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What’s the difference between employees who do and don’t see that career path and career progression plan? Those who always see the career pathing to advance their careers are literally 174% more engaged than those who never see that path.

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This issue sheds light on the employee's perception of career growth opportunities within the company. A positive response means that employees feel that there are opportunities for advancement and growth within the company, which can contribute to job satisfaction, motivation, and engagement. But negative responses tell us that employees feel limited in their career progression, which can lead to low morale, dissatisfaction, and a higher likelihood of quitting. Clearly, working with every manager to develop a clear career path for each employee is a critical piece of any human resources activity.

FINDING #5: Employee Goals Are Not Sufficiently Linked To Career Growth

Employee gave their views on the survey question "My assigned individual goals for this year will help me progress in my career.” As you might expect given the previous findings, a paltry 20% of employees believe that their assigned individual goals for this year will help them progress in their career.

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It shouldn’t be that much work to tie employee’s goals to career growth aspirations, especially given that people have 158% higher employee engagement when they see the links between their goals and career growth.

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When employees feel that their individual goals for the year support their career progression, their motivation and job satisfaction will increase. This can also contribute to a culture of continuous learning and growth, as employees are more likely to feel engaged when they feel that their goals are aligned with their career aspirations. On the other hand, a negative response may indicate that employees do not feel that their individual goals are supporting their career progression, leading to decreased motivation and job satisfaction.

FINDING #6: There’s No Excuse For Employees Not Learning New Skills In Their Jobs

With all the changes taking place in today’s workforce, it’s hard to imagine a job currently available where employees wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn new skills. Yet only 26% of employees say that their job always enables them to learn and develop new skills.

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Like every other issue covered thus far, jobs that enable people to learn new skills are significantly more appealing and engaging. People in jobs that job always enable them to learn and develop new skills are 177% more engaged.

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A positive response means that employees feel that their job is providing opportunities for learning and skill development, which can increase job satisfaction and motivation. This can also help attract and retain top talent as employees are more likely to stay with a company that provides opportunities for growth and learning. On the other hand, a negative response may indicate that employees feel their job is not challenging or stimulating, leading to boredom and decreased job satisfaction.

FINDING #7: Too Few People See Their Work Linked To Their Long-Term Career Goals

Employees rated the question "The work I do every day is bringing me closer to my long-term career goals.” And as the chart below shows, a meager 19% of employees feel like their daily work is bringing them closer to their long-term career goals.”

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Finding ways to show employees that their daily work connects to their long-term career aspirations could be a major boon to employee engagement. As demonstrated in the chart below, employees are 155% more engaged when they always see the link between their career goals and their daily work.

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A positive response means that employees feel that their daily work is contributing to their long-term career goals, which can increase motivation, job satisfaction, and engagement. This can also promote a sense of purpose and fulfillment, as employees are more likely to feel motivated when they feel that their work is meaningful and aligned with their aspirations. On the other hand, a negative response may indicate that employees do not feel that their daily work is aligned with their long-term career goals, leading to decreased motivation and job satisfaction.

FINDING #8: career growth opportunities are one of the top reasons why candidates will choose to work at a company

Employees were asked to rank which factors were most important to them looking for a new job. Unsurprisingly, higher compensation and better benefits topped the list, followed by better work-life balance. However, better opportunities for career growth came in fourth, leaping ahead of issues like working remotely and job security. The below chart shows what percent of respondents chose each issue as their #1 choice.

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Final Thoughts On Career Growth

Having a reputation as a good place for employees to experience career growth can bring numerous benefits:

1. Attraction and retention of top talent: employees are more likely to be attracted to, and stay with, a company that offers opportunities for career growth and development.

2. Increased motivation and job satisfaction: employees who see opportunities for advancement within the company are often more motivated and have higher job satisfaction.

3. Improved employee performance: providing employees with opportunities for career growth can lead to increased skills, knowledge and experience, leading to improved performance.

4. Better succession planning: a company that fosters career growth and development is better able to plan for succession and fill critical roles with internal candidates.

5. Positive company culture: offering career growth opportunities can create a positive company culture, where employees feel valued, respected and supported.

6. Improved employee morale and engagement: employees who have a clear path for career growth and development tend to be more engaged and have higher morale.

7. Improved diversity and inclusion: by providing career growth opportunities to a diverse range of employees, a company can foster a more inclusive workplace culture.

8. Increased employee loyalty: employees who have opportunities for career growth and development are often more loyal to their employer and less likely to leave for other opportunities.

9. Better relationships with customers: happy and motivated employees tend to provide better customer service, leading to stronger relationships with customers.

10. Better decision-making and problem-solving: employees who have the opportunity to develop and grow professionally can bring new perspectives and skills to the workplace, leading to better decision-making and problem-solving.

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