The number of employees who believe they have enough opportunity to develop their careers with their current employer is at an all-time low.
According to employee research specialists, ORC International, fewer than half of all employees in 2011 felt they were getting a real opportunity to improve their skills in their organisation – a drop of 10% on the previous year. In addition, only 42% said they were satisfied with the opportunities to get a better job within their organisation.
The figures are published in ORC International’s annual Putting it in Perspective Report, which compares trends and sector differences in employee engagement over the past 11 years. The report is based on data from more than 350 organisations, making it one of the largest employee survey databases in the UK.
Kate Pritchard, Director of Employee Research at ORC International, says: “Upskilling is crucial to an organisation’s success: not only do employers need to develop their people to drive the business forward, providing development opportunities is key to employees’ engagement. If you do not provide this, you risk employees simply ‘cruising’ in their current jobs or – even worse – actively disengaging, leaving your business to simply stagnate.”
The problem is more widespread among public sector employees, where only 40% say they are happy with the opportunities for skill development provided by their organisation, compared to 50% in the private sector.
In a year when satisfaction with pay is at its lowest point since 2008, at 32%, Pritchard argues that employers should consider that offering employees the opportunity to develop their skills and invest in their staff in other ways is a good way to make employees feel valued.
“Skills development can be considered an employee benefit, particularly if pay freezes are minimising other forms of reward,” says Pritchard. “ “Employee development need not be expensive, with shadowing, secondments and new projects all providing valuable opportunities to improve skills and keep employees engaged”