Employees Want Career Advancement


By Eileen Feretic

In survey after survey, employees say that an opportunity for career advancement is one of the main things they look for when evaluating an employer. Professionals are motivated and engaged by career opportunities, and many leave their employers because they don't see any chance to move up in the company.

In the "Talent 2020" survey conducted by Forbes Insights for Deloitte Consulting, 42 percent of the participants who were looking for new jobs said their current job did not make good use of their skills and abilities. And 37 percent of workers who were planning to move to another employer said that a lack of career progress was the main reason.  

The poll on Baseline's home page tells a related story. When asked if their company offered opportunities for career advancement, 39 percent said it offered virtually no opportunities, and another 39 percent said it offered limited ones. Only 5 percent said their company offered a lot of job opportunities. More troubling is the fact that 17 percent of the respondents said they were looking outside the company for career advancement.

Despite a clear employee appeal for more opportunities, many employers are still not providing formal career paths for their workers. Yet, according to the Deloitte survey, the top two incentives that can get employees to stay with their current employers are additional bonuses or financial incentives (44 percent) and pro­motion/job advancement (42 percent).

Ignoring the need for employee career paths is very short-sighted, especially as the unemployment rate drops, salaries rise and new job opportunities open up.

Baseline has published many articles and slideshows about companies' growing need to find and keep talented performers. In one, TechServe Alliance CEO Mark Roberts says there is "fierce competition for top talent and intensified demand for specialized skill sets."

Business success depends on having the right employees in the right jobs—and they should be engaged employees who are passionate about their work. Engagement and passion can be sparked when employers support and recognize their workers and offer them a clear path to career opportunities. 

So why aren't more companies doing that? Please let me know what you think. Write me at eferetic@quinstreet.com.

Eileen Feretic is the Editor in Chief of Baseline. You can reach her at eferetic@quinstreet.com and follow her on Twitter at baselinemag or eferetic.