It’s evident that the days of spending a career at one company have disappeared. Employees are growing increasingly keen on exploring jobs outside of their current field, with position tenure at a single employer averages 4.6 years. For younger employees, that tenure is only 2.3 years. What’s even more surprising is that spending a career in a single field is also becoming a thing of the past. A recent Indeed Hiring Lab study found that 80 percent of employed job seekers search for positions in an occupation category other than their own, and only 43 percent search within their own occupation category at all.

It seems employees are increasingly experiencing a ‘career itch’ that prompts them to make a change – not just to a different company, but to a new occupation altogether. But what’s behind this trend? The causes might vary depending on the individual, but, very often, “job hopping” employees reach their full potential at a job quicker than others, and feel the need to look for a new environment where they can develop new skills and advance. This trend is apparent in various industries, particularly in IT where the best talent must be up to speed with the latest trends in technology.

This career restlessness has a profound impact on the job market and hiring practices, and it has delivered a wealth of complications for HR professionals seeking to retain the best talent. When looking at a job-hopper’s resume, HR recruiters might wonder if it’s worth investing in a resource that might leave soon. But it might do us well to recognize that the employee-employer relationship is not a one-way street. In fact, the onus might be on the employer to ensure that they are keeping their employees engaged and satisfied – and this is becoming an increasingly important charge for HR departments. So, what can HR managers do to reignite employee commitment in today’s restless job market?

Readily available professional development opportunities are probably at the top of the list for improving employee satisfaction and loyalty. Candidates want to know that they’ll have advancement opportunities within an organization. If an employee doesn’t see room to grow, they’ll likely leave; if a candidate doesn’t feel they’ll ever earn a promotion at a potential employer, they aren’t likely to take the position. At the end of the day, providing these resources to employees demonstrate employers’ investment and concern, and that is, perhaps, one of the most valuable assets an HR manger can have on his or her side for recruiting and retention.

It’s also worth noting that career transitions aren’t always voluntary. Layoff and company closures often put employees back in the job market, and when they’re on the hunt, many see it as an opportunity to change occupations. Employers who offer outplacement services to impacted employees show the same kind of concern for employee wellbeing, as do those who offer internal advancement. Employers that are able to become a genuine resource for workers who want to develop their careers —whether it’s at the company or not — will establish the sort of reputation that attracts (and retains) top talent.

What are you doing to keep employee turnover low at your organization? Don’t make it easy for talent to jump ship – get engaged and give employees a reason to stay.

29 July 2015

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