Just a quarter of employees feel good about their career in current company, study suggests

Poll reveals majority of those looking for a new job are interested in external roles, but only a third know how to progress their career at their current company

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Only one in four (25 per cent) employees feel confident about their career at their current organisation, a study has found.

The research by Gartner, which surveyed 3,300 employees in March this year, found that fewer than one in three knew how to progress in their current career over the next five years, and only half (50 per cent) said their manager tailors feedback based on the role they want to move into. 

It also found that the vast majority (94 per cent) of employees said it was more or equally important now than before the pandemic to develop skills outside of their roles. However, two in five (41 per cent) did not feel comfortable sharing any concerns at work with their managers.

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Of the respondents, 15 per cent said they were looking for a new job, and three-quarters (79 per cent) of these were interested in external roles.

Nearly half (45 per cent) said they were leaving their current employer for professional development opportunities: a similar proportion to those leaving for higher compensation (48 per cent). More than a third (35 per cent) said they left their employer for better career trajectories, the survey found.

Vitorio Bretas, director in the Gartner HR practice, said HR must make employees aware of the various ways in which they can progress their career, rather than giving the impression of there being only one route. 

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“Crowdsourcing career experiences from colleagues and leaders can help employees connect the dots between their current career trajectory to possible career moves,” he said. 

“Facilitating employee career growth is critical for retention and is table stakes for your employee value proposition.”

The research found that investment in tools such as internal networking opportunities and other career support, such as job shadowing, and discussion around career goals, boosted employees’ confidence in their career at their current organisation by 31 per cent.

It also found that since the pandemic, three-quarters (75 per cent) of those surveyed wanted to spend more time on their personal lives, and two-thirds wanted to find purpose beyond work. 

Alan Price, chief executive at BrightHR, stressed the importance of managers providing regular feedback to employees, adding that one-to-one meetings can be a great way to discuss performance, give honest feedback, and talk about the best ways to develop and grow the employee. 

“Identify future leaders and look to develop them, offer training to help someone fulfil their potential, and if someone sees an opportunity in another team, don’t be threatened by this,” he said. “Find ways to support employees in their goals and they will repay that with loyalty and dedication”.