Using career progression to retain staff

We know from our research that professionals believe that career progression is important when assessing whether or not to move jobs.

So how and when you communicate career progression to professionals will shape how attractive a role is to a job seeker. We surveyed job seekers and hiring managers, and here are our tips on career progression.


Main survey findings

We spoke to over 1,400 job seekers and 350 hiring managers. The key findings from our survey were:

  • 63% of professionals said that career progression was ‘very important’, when considering a new role
  • 33% said career progression was ‘somewhat important’
  • Only 4% said it was ‘not important’

More than half of professionals we surveyed (55%), actively look for job advertisements that clearly promote career progression, with three quarters (75%) asking specifically about career progression during the interview process.

The Importance of career progression

Professionals attach high importance to career progression so explaining your company’s pathways to progression is just as important as any other aspect of a role. Our research showed fewer than four out of ten (37%) of job adverts mention career progression, even though 95% of professionals said it would encourage them to look at a job advert.

First impressions count

Research consistently shows that top talent look to find out about the career progression available to them very early on in the recruitment process. Your company’s job advertisements should be a persuasive, accurate reflection of a role and what the organisation can offer. If you don’t take the time to include some basic information about the career progression opportunities that are available, you’ll have wasted a valuable opportunity to reach job seekers.

Don’t overpromise

Overpromising and under delivering not only leads to staff disengagement, it also damages your employer brand and reputation. Being honest about what you can offer, what professionals joining your company can expect, as well as following through on progression opportunities will ensure you select the right professional and are able to retain them for longer.

Education is key

Education and training are the most sought-after career progression initiatives and our findings show that organisations recognise this. However, it’s important that you offer the right kind of education and training. So make sure that it:

  • Provides something new. Professionals want to be challenged and learn new skills
  • Is relevant to the role, something that the professional can apply in their working lives and which helps them enhance their skill sets
  • Is a good investment for the organisation. It has to deliver added value to the company; whether in the short or longer term

Career progression doesn’t have to mean promotion

Professionals told us that career progression doesn’t necessarily have to mean a direct promotion. If there is someone in your organisation who has advanced as far as they can, could you move them to an international office or give them a secondment to another part of the business? They may be able to learn new skills that could benefit your company as well as themselves.

More money is a short term fix

Remuneration is not the main motivator for many professionals. Talented professionals are far more likely to be driven by a need to feel engaged and challenged. There is no point in increasing someone’s salary if they are still feeling unmotivated. Indeed, our survey shows that a higher salary will only keep employees engaged for another two years at most (16% of respondents said they would only stay for up to a year and 58% said between one and two years).

Accept that you will lose professionals

From time to time (and possibly quite regularly, depending on the size of your organisation) you will have to face the prospect of a valued team member leaving. Take it as an opportunity to nurture some new talent who will make their own mark on the business, and make sure you articulate the career progression prospects throughout the recruitment process. This will help you attract the best qualified professionals for the role you are trying to fill.

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For further hiring advice get in touch to speak to one of our expert consultants.




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