August 25, 2014

Employers Have Retention Challenges Amidst Rising Job Mobility, finds Towers Watson

retention challenges amidst rising mobilityThe ongoing economic recovery has employers increasing hiring activity, but they’re having trouble landing current and future top talent. And even as they struggle to bring on new talent, many are losing their best performers, often to competitors.

The Towers Watson Global Workforce Study found that employers tend to be behind the curve in understanding what talented job seekers, and current staffers, are looking for in a job these days. Such findings offer even more evidence that many companies have yet to come to grips with what it takes to build a talent-heavy organization.

“With talent mobility on the rise, employers need to understand what employees value if they are to succeed in attracting and retaining employees. Unfortunately, our surveys reveal a significant disconnect between employers and employees,” said Laura Sejen, managing director at Towers Watson, who led both surveys. “While employers recognize the importance of pay and career advancement as key reasons employees choose to join and stay with a company, they don’t place the same importance on another top attraction and retention driver: job security, or a key retention driver: trust and confidence in senior leadership.”

About half of responding companies said they were hiring at a faster pace than last year, with 15 percent saying the pace was much faster. In the meantime, 35 percent said turnover was on the rise.

More than two-thirds of respondents said they were having trouble hiring proven top performers and those deemed potential corporate stars. Meanwhile, more than half said they were losing talented personnel, with many saying they weren’t sure why they couldn’t hang on to these current outperformers.

Employees reported that they were blocked in their current jobs and decided the only way up was out. More than four in 10 employees designated as top performers said they knew they would have to find a new employer in order to advance their careers. Less than half said they worked for a company with effective senior leadership. Meanwhile, nearly half of employers agreed that their companies aren’t very good at providing advancement opportunities.

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Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.