Career Crossroads: Should I stay or should I go?

Date: 
Monday, November 10, 2014

Are you considering a career change in 2015 and what are the factors influencing your decision?

These are the questions that were put to the Australian Institute of Management’s Research Panel and the results are astonishing.

Nearly half of all respondents indicated that they are considering changing jobs next year with many looking for a new challenge in their professional lives.

Survey respondents had, on average, spent more than five years in their current roles and 46 per cent of these people said they are ready to move on.

More worrying was the fact that 60 per cent of survey respondents who had been in their roles for three years were also considering jumping ship.

The major reason for people to consider a fresh start in 2015 was their desire for a new challenge which was also supported by a lack of meaningful work and not being able to utilise skills and experience.

Rounding out the top five irritants that are causing managers to rethink their options include toxic workplace cultures and being micro-managed.

The top five reasons that encouraged people to stay put included meaningful work, challenging work, autonomy, skill utilisation, and a positive workplace.

AIM’s Head of Research and Thought Leadership Dr Malcolm Johnson FAIM said the reasons for people staying or leaving were similar but not quite the same in terms of priority.

“Some of the things that encourage people to stay will get swamped by the priorities given to the negative factors that are encouraging them to leave,” Dr Johnson said.

“Whether people carry through on their intentions to leave their employer in the next year is uncertain but the impact on the decision from any negative workplace events exponentially heightens the risk.

“Being an employer of choice is an aspect that is an attraction to potential employees as once people choose to work in an organisation, there is generally a significant reluctance to change.

Dr Johnson said that all of the issues that are placing people at a career crossroads were eminently manageable.

“Maintaining a focus on the positive aspects is important but the greatest impact will be to address those aspects that are driving people to consider employment alternatives,” Dr Johnson said.

“Once they make that decision they are in exit mode, emotionally and cognitively disengaging albeit while still drawing a salary. It is then only a matter of time and opportunity before they depart.

“Bolstering the positive aspects that encourage people to stay, and addressing the different issues that are encouraging people to leave, may take effort but the downside cost of losing good people to competitors should make a compelling business case.”

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