Here’s the No. 1 Reason Workers Are Seeking New Jobs In 2017

You might hate your boss or think you're not paid enough, but if you lack a challenge in your professional life that's the likely trigger to start you on the path to working someplace else. Here's why.

February 6, 2017 – The primary reason professionals are seeking new jobs in 2017 is to find a more challenging position. The quest for greater compensation comes in almost dead last as a reason to leave, according to a new global survey by Korn Ferry.

In the survey of nearly 2,000 professionals, nearly three quarters (73 percent) said that if they plan on being in the job market this year, it’s because they’re looking for a challenge. Trailing far behind, nine percent said they are looking because they either don’t like their company or their efforts aren’t being recognized, while five percent said their compensation is too low, and four percent said they don’t like their boss.

“These results mirror study after study Korn Ferry has done that show money is not the key motivator for employees,” said Kevin Cashman, senior partner at Korn Ferry. “Professionals who have progressed in their careers have done so for another reason. They’re passionate about what they do and need to feel that they are being pushed professionally and continually learning new skills.”


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In a separate Korn Ferry survey, nearly two thirds (63 percent) of professionals said they would prefer a promotion with no raise over a raise with no promotion. Another Korn Ferry survey found that 73 percent said their principal personal driver at work was a job that had purpose and meaning, with only three percent saying income was most important.

Ongoing Development Critical

The study shows that professionals are on a quest to continually improve their skill sets, something countless other studies have now concluded.

Eighty two percent of respondents said they plan on participating independently in professional development or career advancement programs in the coming year. More than half (54 percent) said they plan on enrolling in classes to advance their education or career in 2017, and more than two thirds (67 percent) said they plan on participating in employer-sponsored professional development programs.

“This is a clear signal for organizations. Offering challenging assignments and development opportunities to grow and learn are critical to keeping top quality talent,” said Mr. Cashman.

Bullish on Bonuses

The survey shows most professionals think 2017 is going to be a good year for extra compensation, as 75 percent of respondents said they expect to get a bonus this year, and 55 percent think it will be bigger than in 2016.

“While the survey shows compensation is not on the top of the list for personal drivers in the workplace, it is still critical to retention,” said Mr. Cashman. “Bonuses are a tangible way to reward professionals for a job well done, and should be considered in addition to promotions, development and a challenging work environment.”

American Workers Desire ‘Long Term Relationship’

Another separate Korn Ferry asked executive this: “Given your choice, how long would you plan to continue working for your company?” Perhaps surprisingly, the largest percentage (64 percent) of employees across industries said “more than five years.” By contrast, just 18 percent of employees said they plan on staying two years or less. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the average U.S. employee stays on the job an average of 4.6 years. Millennials, of course, are starting to skew those figures downward, and so are the opportunities presenting themselves from the gig work environment.


How ‘Gigging’ Is Turning the Modern Workplace Upside Down

By 2025, most workers (70 percent) and employers (68 percent) agree that a majority of the workforce will be employed in an ‘agile capacity’ (i.e. contractor, consultant, temp worker or freelancer). It is a movement that is fueling new workforce models that tap into both permanent and agile employees to combat staffing shortages, leverage globalization and fuel greater innovation for organizations ….. Here’s some further reading from Hunt Scanlon Media.

Massive Shift to Contract Employment Underway
More workers are changing their perceptions of non-permanent employment, choosing to pursue agile gigs for greater control, growth and even job security. It is a mindset shift that means anyone can work from anywhere, anytime and on any device, and it is all but killing the traditional nine to five day.


“Leaders who are successful in keeping their best people will need to foster a positive view of future company prospects and opportunities for individual growth and development, focus on structuring work environments to support employees’ success in their roles and leverage employee input to promote high levels of effectiveness, and reinforce the balance between what employees contribute and what they get back from the organization in return,” said Mark Royal, senior principal of Korn Ferry Hay Group.

A separate Korn Ferry study shows that a critical need exists to improve employee engagement. This survey found that across all leadership levels an average of only 36 percent of employees are “highly engaged.” The report also found that leveraging a social responsibility agenda to develop leaders can help reverse this trend.

The vast majority (87 percent) of respondents say that linking an organization’s social responsibility efforts to leadership development has a positive impact on overall engagement and performance. Unfortunately, only 59 percent of respondents say their organizations actually do link the two.

“Real leadership development doesn’t happen in the classroom. That just sets the stage,” said Keith Halperin, senior partner of Hay Group. “The real development happens on the job, and in today’s world employees are looking for organizations that are giving back to the community. Where there’s purpose, there’s a sense of meaning. There’s a sense of value. Opportunities to give back and serve are perfect places to develop leadership.”

Tapping into an organization’s social responsibility platform is critically important to attracting, developing and retaining top talent, said Noah Rabinowitz, managing director of Deloitte’s leadership practice. “It provides a source of natural inspiration for people that is tied to the broader mission and purpose of an organization.”

Developing Clear Strategies

Perhaps the best way to engage employees and retain the best talent at any company is to implement solid career development and successions strategies. But companies are failing to do this. According to research released by global talent management provider Pennahiring managers are ill-equipped to have career conversations with their direct reports, with nearly a third (31 percent) saying their organization doesn’t provide people management training.

The report asked how satisfied employees are with the level of career development they are receiving; only five out of 10 said it met their standards. Nearly two thirds (63 percent) of employees said that the lack of a career development channel with their current employer would very much – or possibly – be enough to make them start looking for a new job.

The Penna research also revealed that career conversations are seldom tracked or fed into succession plans, with a third (33 percent) of managers admitting that their organization doesn’t have a formal process for recording and tracking the long term career goals of its employees and 23 percent said information gathered doesn’t get fed into succession planning.

Succession planning seems to be a growing concern to many HR leaders according to multiple recent reports. Seventy four percent of HR leaders have identified leadership succession and speed of development as the primary internal challenges they face, according to a survey by talent solutions provider Lumesse and research company Loudhouse. The identification of ‪tomorrow’s leaders is crucial to mitigate against the loss of critical talent in the future, something that 73 percent of respondents said is the biggest threat to their business over the next 12 months.

“It’s concerning how many organizations are failing to plan their leadership pipeline,” said Penny de Valk, Penna’s talent practice managing director. “At a time when leadership capability is a precious commodity and critical to an organization’s success, we need to get better at succession planning and developing leaders at all levels. Building a leadership pipeline means being able to spot and develop potential and companies that are doing this well have a real source of competitive advantage.”

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media

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