March 01, 2012
Accenture Research Finds Few Professionals Plan to Leave Their Employers Despite Job Dissatisfaction
Majority cite flexible work arrangements as a reason for staying
NEW YORK; March 1, 2012 – New global research from Accenture, titled “The Path Forward,” has found that despite being dissatisfied with their jobs, the majority of professionals plan to stay with their current employers.
More than half of both the women and men surveyed (57 percent and 59 percent, respectively) are dissatisfied with their jobs.
Despite their current job dissatisfaction, more than two-thirds (69 percent) of all respondents said they do not plan to leave their current employers, with nearly the same number (64 percent) citing flexible work arrangements as the reason for staying put.
When asked about the greatest barrier to their career advancement, respondents cited a lack of opportunity or a clear career path twice as often as they cited family responsibilities (42 percent vs. 20 percent), while almost one-third (32 percent) cited no barriers to their advancement.
At the same time, most respondents said they are taking a variety of steps to actively manage their careers — including accepting a different role or responsibility (cited by 58 percent of respondents), receiving more education or training (46 percent), and working longer hours (36 percent).
“Despite current challenges, employees are still striving for success — and energized, engaged employees remain a competitive advantage,” said Adrian Lajtha, Accenture's chief leadership officer. “Since the majority of today’s professionals are not job hunting, leading companies must capitalize on this moment in time to equip their people with clearly defined career paths that include innovative training, leadership development and opportunities for advancement.”
The Accenture research covers a wide range of employment-related topics; some other findings include:
- Flexible work schedules – The majority (59 percent) of respondents reported having some type of flexible work schedule, and 44 percent of this group said they have used flexible work options for more than three years.
- Slowed careers – When asked about factors that have slowed their careers, 44 percent of respondents cited the economic downturn, which started in 2008, and 40 percent cited parenthood.
- Work/life balance – While more than two-thirds (71 percent) of respondents reported having work/life balance most or all of the time, 42 percent said they often sacrifice time with family in order to succeed, and 41 percent said career demands have a negative impact on their family life.
- Spouses – The vast majority (73 percent) of respondents with a spouse or significant other said that person also holds a full-time job.
- Important attributes for career growth – Self-confidence, soft skills and hard work were cited most often as the attributes most important to career growth (cited by 28 percent, 25 percent and 23 percent of respondents, respectively).
Career advice – Approximately one-third of respondents reported they get career advice from colleagues or family (cited by 35 percent and 32 percent of respondents, respectively), and 77 percent said the gender of the person giving career advice does not matter to them.
“We’re looking at a new normal in the workplace,” said Nellie Borrero, Inclusion & Diversity lead at Accenture. “Employees are defining success in a variety of ways, customizing their own approaches and balancing personal demands with their desire to succeed. The challenge for employers is to help employees fully integrate the whole spectrum of work and life needs over the course of their careers.”
Accenture will celebrate International Women’s Day in more than 30 countries, with a focus on its new global women’s theme: Defining Success. Your Way.
In November/December 2011, Accenture conducted an online survey of 3,900 business executives from medium to large organizations in 31 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. A minimum of 100 respondents from each country participated, with the exception of Norway/Sweden/Denmark/Finland, where the combined number of respondents totaled 200. Respondents were split evenly by gender and were balanced by age and level in their organizations. The margin of error for the total sample was approximately +/-2percent. A full report on the research, “The Path Forward,” is available at
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with more than 244,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. Through its Skills to Succeed corporate citizenship focus, Accenture is committed to equipping 250,000 people around the world by 2015 with the skills to get a job or build a business. The company generated net revenues of US$25.5 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2011. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
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