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Survey: 46% of employees say they lack career support from managers

Written on Mar 1, 2024

Data from a new survey reveals that nearly half said their manager doesn’t know how to help them with career development. Fifty-nine percent said their company rarely or never helps them explore opportunities for growth outside of their current department. 

The survey by INTOO and Workplace Intelligence was completed by 1,600 full-time workers. 

“As every business is looking to cut costs, finance teams sometimes look at the investment in employees as an added expense,” Christina Riley, controller at INTOO, said in a news release. 

“But in reality, learning and development (L&D) benefits help organizations save money, both in the short term and in the future,” she said. “[L&D is] cheaper than the cost of turnover, onboarding, and raises. And since 74% of employees think of them as ‘just as’ or ‘more’ valuable than a promotion or title change, offering this programming is a no-brainer.” 

Business leaders aren’t fully recognizing how learning and development is the remedy to talent retention. Nearly two-thirds of employees (63%) said their employer cares more about productivity than their career development, more than half (54%) said they feel completely on their own when it comes to their career development, and over four in 10 (44%) said their employer doesn’t value their career development at all. 

Due to the lack of career development opportunities, 25% of employees say they’ll likely quit within the next six months due to a lack of support from their company.  

More than three out of four workers surveyed said that at some point in their career, they were given bad advice. Out of that group, 67% said bad professional advice from a manager has impacted their career with just over half (52%) also saying the bad advice has affected them in their current job. 

In what appears to be a communication issue between managers and employees, nearly half (47%) said they believe their manager is too focused on their own career than helping them out with theirs. Slightly less (46%) said management just doesn’t know how to help with the career advancement of others and over a third (35%) said their managers don’t care. 

Rather than providing occasional support, data suggests that employees seek formal training programs, along with regular conversations with management, about what their path for career growth looks like. Over half (53%) of all employees surveyed said they would appreciate more conversations with their managers about their career development, but claim their managers are too busy to be having these conversations regularly. 

According to the data, Gen Z is much more likely to want career guidance and learning and development resources from their employer, with 62% of Gen Z (11 percentage points higher than everyone else) saying they want to have regular conversations with their managers about their career growth. 

Young people also have fallen victim to bad career advice but with more of an impact on their well-being. Nearly 39% of Gen Z said they are struggling with their mental health as a result of bad career advice from a manager. 

Bad advice hasn’t dampened a desire to have communication with managers, however. When compared to coworkers, data also showed Gen Z workers were twice as likely to have career conversations with their managers once a month. However, in terms of quality of advice, Gen Z, like their coworkers, claim they get better advice from social media (55%) and ChatGPT (47%) about their career than their managers. 

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