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Press Release

Employee Expectations for 2014: Five Times More Likely To Quit Than Be Fired

9 December 2013

A new year on the horizon and a new set of resolutions. Employers may well be wondering how many of their staff have "find a new job" on their list of things to accomplish in 2014. Recent economic news confirms that the US is pursuing its slow recovery, and unemployment numbers are continuing to decline. About 34% of CEOs expect to hire more employees over the next six months, according to a recent economic outlook survey of US chief executive officers.

While we are not yet back to the levels seen in a buoyant economy, employees today feel that they generally have the upper hand in the employer-employee relationship; this is reflected in their attitudes towards career.

A sample of 344 employed US workers taken in December 2013 reveals that:

  • A substantial majority (72%) believe they personally have the biggest control over their next career move (as opposed to their manager or the company they work for). | View Chart | Click to Tweet |

  • Their expectation of next career steps is more likely to include a new project or a new assignment (35%) or a move outside the company (23%) before a direct move up the corporate ladder (13%). | View Chart | Click to Tweet |

  • They are five times more likely to expect to quit their current job than expect facing a layoff (84% vs. 16%). | View Chart | Click to Tweet |

  • The idea that the immediate manager is the main reason people consider leaving is an outdated concept – three quarters (75%) of respondents do not credit managers with such influence. | View Chart | Click to Tweet |

  • In general organizations are seen to care about their employees' career progression and employees perceive they have decent career opportunities with their current employer. The interesting thing to note here is that the perception the employer cares and the belief that there are opportunities are closely correlated (Pearson's Correlation .75). | View Chart 1 | View Chart 2 | Click to Tweet |

  • Despite the care and attention, a significant portion (44%) of employees would rather be working for themselves – a sense of individualism and entrepreneurship that employees would do well to tap into. | View Chart | Click to Tweet |

Bottom line: People’s attitude towards "careers" is evolving. The perspective is becoming increasingly individualistic and managed outside of the rigid company-driven structures of yesteryear. Progressive companies will learn to enable individuals to craft their own role in the organization based on their personal skills and aspirations. Naturally, this needs to be done within the parameters that drive the company’s vision and business strategies.

Equipping managers to navigate this new "career" context is also an important part of the puzzle. Managers can no longer assume they are coaching people up into their own role; rather, managers need to develop purposeful coaching partnerships to prepare team members to meet the organization’s future challenges while tapping into individual skills and aspirations.

Companies that fail to manage this evolving dynamic will face increasing retention challenges going forward.

[Note: The sample was taken from full-time US employed individuals aged 18 to 60 with high school degrees or better. Data collected in early December 2013 via online survey.]

Supporting charts follow: