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55% of Employers Don’t Offer Their Employees a Clear Track for Advancement, Fueling The Great Resignation


As More Skilled Workers Quit Their Jobs, 15Five Research Confirms Employee Retention Is Tied to Career Advancement

Get 15Five's 2021 Workplace Report

San Francisco – Nov. 17, 2021 – The Great Resignation continues to wreak havoc on the recovering pandemic economy, with a majority of U.S. companies finding it difficult to meet the demand for skilled workers. New research from 15Five, the transformative performance management platform, shows that a clear track for advancement and professional development resources is needed to retain employees and enable employee growth at all levels.

15Five’s survey of more than 1,000 employed U.S. adults revealed that career growth, learning and development are among the most important factors (cited by 49.7%) for remaining at a company. More than a third (39.5%) of Americans acknowledge that one of the top reasons for leaving a company is lack of career advancement opportunities.

Most employers (55.5%), however, don’t offer a clear path for advancement, the survey confirms.

“Americans are hungry for career growth but are feeling stuck,” said Jeff Smith, VP Strategic Initiatives at 15Five. “Our recent research sheds light on the need for professional development resources and a clear track for advancement to allow employees to grow. A healthy manager-employee relationship is also critical for employees and companies to thrive.”

The modern employee isn’t content with traditional career paths. Instead, these individuals are looking for opportunities to discover and leverage their strengths and talents. The survey shows that many companies are not investing in the necessary programs or solutions to meet the needs of today’s employees:

  • Nearly half of employers (46% ) do not provide their employees with assessments to determine their talents and strengths
  • More than a third (35.7%) of Americans say their employers don’t consider their long-term career ambitions but only consider their career as it relates to their current company role
  • More than a quarter of employees (27.8%) report  their company does not make it easy to identify how their strengths match the requirements of open roles

Ignoring the warning signs that can cause employee distress, a majority of organizations are failing to provide clear tracks for career growth. Some employees don’t have access to well-defined job descriptions (28%) or an understanding of their career trajectory at their current company (19.8%). More than a third of organizations (37.9%) don’t promote from within, virtually shutting down employees’ career advancement within the company.

“The Great Resignation is not going away in the near term and reflects a permanent change: people want purpose and career paths along with their paycheck,” added Smith. “Organizations need to ensure that the proper technologies and processes are in place to address their employees’ desire for self-discovery and career opportunities. Alignment with what motivates your employees will be the key differentiator as you compete to attract and retain the best talent.”

Survey Methodology

In September, 15Five and Propeller Insights polled more than 1,000 employed adults to shed light on how people work to define and understand their career paths and the importance of professional/career development. 

About 15Five

Founded in 2011, 15Five equips HR leaders to play a strategic role in their company’s growth. HR leaders use 15Five to combine engagement, performance and OKRs on one platform so they can make insightful decisions and take strategic action. Unlike other “command and control” performance systems, 15Five uses the latest in people science to turn managers and employees into self-driven owners of performance and engagement. To further the impact of talent on company growth, 15Five also provides education, coaching and community for HR leaders, managers and employees. HR leaders at over 3,000 companies, including Credit Karma, Spotify and Pendo, rely on 15Five’s software and services to make their talent a growth driver.

Get 15Five's 2021 Workplace Report


Marissa Goldman
[email protected]