Princeton, N.J. — Jan. 26
Corporate career development programs fail to meet the needs of more employees than they actually benefit, according a new study by BlessingWhite, a global consulting firm based in Princeton, N.J.
Asked whether their employer’s approach to career development meets their personal needs, fewer than one in three of the 976 executives and managers who participated in the survey responded affirmatively, while 41 percent disagreed.
In regard to the statement, “My employer’s approach to career development meets my personal needs,” the results are as follows:
- Disagree/Strongly Disagree: 41 percent
- Neither Agree/Disagree: 30 percent
- Agree/Strongly Agree: 29 percent
“Employees are clearly not benefiting from management efforts to support their careers,” BlessingWhite CEO Christopher Rice said. “There’s been a major investment going on for 10 years now in such programs, but nonetheless, there’s a disconnect.
“Employees remain skeptical, indifferent or confused about their employer’s efforts to support their personal career development. Whether it’s published career paths, assessments, online resources or mentoring, employees aren’t getting what they want.”
The study also turned up some more promising news for employers. More employees agreed their employer is committed to helping them achieve personal career goals — 40 percent versus 30 percent who did not agree.
Likewise, more believe their employer makes it easy to pursue lateral career moves, not just promotions — again, 40 percent agreed, and 30 percent disagreed.
Among the study’s other findings:
- Many employees, 38 percent of those surveyed, believe their employer provides career development only to “high potentials” or specific groups of employees.
- Employees are evenly divided, 36 percent versus 36 percent, on whether talk of career development in their organization is internal PR and that few employees actually benefit.
- Employees are sharply split on whether employees’ career aspirations are supported with a talent management system or initiative. While 26 percent think so, 44 percent disagreed.
- Younger workers (29 or younger) were the most satisfied with their employer’s approach to career development, with 50 percent agreeing that it met their personal needs. In comparison, less than one-third of Gen Xers and baby boomers were satisfied with their employer’s career development efforts.
The study’s findings suggest management faces a formidable challenge in achieving retention and engagement through career development efforts, Rice said.
“While it appears many employers surely intend to support their employees’ career development, they’re just not scratching the itch,” he said. “Whether it’s because of poor communication or resources that don’t suit employees’ real needs and motivators, few employers and employees benefit.”
The BlessingWhite career development survey was conducted in December via the Internet. Of the 976 participants, 57 percent have leadership responsibilities, and 30 percent work in organizations employing more than 10,000 people. Thirty-three countries were represented in the study, with 75 percent being U.S.-based.