Why Professional Development May Matter More than Summer Fridays

professional development

Year after our annual polling of the talent 24 Seven’s 2017 Job Market Report found that professional growth in all its forms –career progression, training and development, and skills improvement—continues to be a top talent concern. A company’s commitment to development and offering access to training and professional improvement has a perennial effect on employee loyalty, their job satisfaction and their perception of the workplace being ideal.

Talent has a keen awareness of how fast the business environment is changing, and how critical skill sharpness is to their career longevity and employability. Despite strong jobs numbers and the economy in seemingly good shape, the memories of unemployed friends, family members and, in some cases, themselves during the Great Recession appears to drive the desire for continual development and advancement. When evaluating a company’s culture, talent responding to our latest study ranked a company’s reputation for solid career pathing and professional development higher than its attitude toward work/life balance. In the long run, having a few Friday afternoons off in the summer may not measure up to an experience-rich, skill-expanding career journey.

Over the years, our studies have found that employees who are less of a flight risk are the ones who have a clear sense of possible directions their career could take at their organization. The ones who reported that their company offers frequent opportunities for training and development were also less likely to be willing to jump ship. When it came to evaluating themselves as to whether they were professionally successful, talent named frequent career advancement in the form of a promotion or plum assignments as important indicators. Smart employers understand that incorporating all of these elements into an employee development plan is key to creating a sticky workplace and a major competitive advantage in the race for talent.

But employers who have positioned themselves successfully as a learning organization should not feel like they can rest on their laurels. Even talent who told us that they’ve found the ideal workplace said that this is an area that employers need to expand constantly. Build (and improve) a learning organization, and top talent will come and stay. To learn more download our infographic How Investments in Employee Professional Development & Career Pathing Pays Off.

2017 Job Market Report cover