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Lack of career prospects and appreciation lead to candidates changing jobs

By Sarah Owens on 30.09.15 in Your Job Search

2014 saw a significant increase in staff churn in the direct marketing sector. In order to understand the motivations behind this, we conducted a survey to direct and digital marketing professionals to find out what the frustrations were in their current jobs. 

Here are the top five reasons candidates want to change employers: 

  • No career prospects / promotion opportunities = 55%
  • No recognition / not appreciated = 48%
  • Job has become repetitive / boring = 48%
  • Company culture = 42%
  • Salary too low = 40% 

 chart

When we speak to candidates looking to move, we always ask them about their motivations. Initially, they tend to be diplomatic, but after some gentle persuasion the truth comes out. Candidates often talk about the lack of opportunities for further professional development with their current employer.

Creating career paths that are well communicated and understood by employees is not something most companies do well. Even in the best-case scenario where managers are holding regular performance reviews with their staff, they often don't understand how to move either horizontally or vertically within an organisation.

Of course, not every employee is going to end up as the CEO. Likewise, a person who is brilliant at sales won't necessarily succeed in a creative role. But, for any employee that is worth retaining, a manager must make clear to them how and where they can move forward on their career path.

42% of candidates said that poor company culture was another big frustration in their current work situation. Since half our life is spent in the workplace, it is only natural we expect the working environment to be friendly and governed by relations of trust, mutual respect and understanding.

Work culture is inherently changing. Employees expect to have fun at work. We don't mean in the 'carry on camping' sense, but sitting at a desk for eight hours straight is seen as less and less appealing. It doesn't mean that the work force is becoming lazier, however, the boundaries between work and play are becoming blurred.

It would be perilous as an employer to ignore findings such as ours. If the reasons for leaving were properly addressed, companies would reap big rewards. Candidates who were initially going to resign might be persuaded to stay if positive changes are made within the business. Surely, pre-empting a mass exodus of staff by working to make your company's culture more people focused has to be better than endlessly trying to plug gaps as disgruntled staff head out of your door. It is important to really listen to your employees and what they are looking for and align individuals' objectives with that of the agency, resulting in happier, more effective teams and a lower staff turnover.