Time to take advantage of a new ‘normal’ emerging in the workplaceBy Accenture | Apr 22, 12 11:32 AM
The Path Forward research from Accenture
New research has found that many professionals who are dissatisfied with their jobs do not plan to leave their employers any time soon. This may sound like bad news for productivity and workplace culture, but it can be a great opportunity for employers to help their people improve their career paths and define their own versions of success.
As part of its recent International Women’s Day celebrations, Accenture surveyed 3,900 business professionals in 31 countries on topics relating to career satisfaction and progression. The external research, titled “The Path Forward”, found more than half of both the women and men surveyed (57 percent and 59 percent, respectively) are dissatisfied with their jobs. Despite their current job dissatisfaction, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of all respondents said they do not plan to leave their current employer, with nearly the same number (64 percent) citing flexible work arrangements as the reason for staying put.
When asked about the greatest barrier to their career advancement, respondents cited a lack of opportunity or a clear career path twice as often as they cited family responsibilities, while almost one-third (32 percent) cited no barriers to their advancement.
At the same time, most respondents said they are taking a variety of steps to actively manage their careers — including accepting a different role or responsibility (cited by 58 percent of respondents), receiving more education or training (46 percent), and working longer hours (36 percent).
“Despite current challenges, employees are still striving for success – and energised, engaged employees remain a competitive advantage,” said Adrian Lajtha, Accenture's chief leadership officer. “Since the majority of today’s professionals are not job hunting, leading companies must capitalise on this moment in time to equip their people with clearly defined career paths that include innovative training, leadership development and opportunities for advancement.”
In such circumstances, with swift and appropriately targeted action, leaders could reap the benefits of a notably positive influence on engagement and/or retention beyond the short term.
The Accenture research covers a wide range of employment-related topics that are redefining the workplace. Some other findings include:
Flexible work schedules no longer differentiate employers – the majority (59 percent) of respondents reported having some type of flexible work schedule, and 44 percent of this group said they have used flexible work options for more than three years.
Slowed careers are for mixed reasons – when asked about factors that have slowed their careers, 44 percent of respondents cited the economic downturn (which started in 2008) and 40 percent cited parenthood.
Work/life balance is possible, but needs to be managed – more than two-thirds (71 percent) of respondents reported having work/life balance most or all of the time; although, 42 percent said they often sacrifice time with family in order to succeed and 41 percent said career demands have a negative impact on their family life.
Spouses’ careers are likely to influence flexibility needs and, in certain organisations, mobility – the vast majority (73 percent) of respondents with a spouse or significant other said that person also holds a full-time job.
Important attributes for career growth were identified – self-confidence, soft skills and hard work were cited most often as the attributes most important to career growth (cited by 28 percent, 25 percent and 23 percent of respondents, respectively).
Career advice is sought from a variety of sources – approximately one-third of respondents reported they get career advice from colleagues or family (cited by 35 percent and 32 percent of respondents, respectively), and 77 percent said the gender of the person giving career advice does not matter to them.
“We’re looking at a new ‘normal’ in the workplace,” said Nellie Borrero, Inclusion & Diversity lead at Accenture.“Employees are defining success in a variety of ways, customising their own approaches and balancing personal demands with their desire to succeed. The challenge for employers is to help employees fully integrate the whole spectrum of work and life needs over the course of their careers.”
To download a copy of the full research report, visit www.accenture.com/pathforward.