What Job Switchers Want

Kristen B. Frasch

The latest chapter in the ongoing book on employees and what they really want from their employer finds them pursuing a slightly different Holy Grail than previously reported: challenge.

In a recent global Korn Ferry survey of nearly 2,000 professionals, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) say that if they were to plan on being in the job market this year, it would be because they're looking for a more challenging position while the quest for greater compensation comes in almost dead last as a reason to leave.

Trailing far behind that 73 percent, 9 percent say they would be looking elsewhere because they either don't like their company or their efforts aren't being recognized, 5 percent would blame the fact that their compensation is too low and 4 percent say it would be because they don't like their boss.

"What that answer tells HR is if people are thinking of moving for challenge, how do we challenge them?" says Kevin Cashman, senior partner at Los Angeles-based Korn Ferry. "It presents a call to invest in more engagement, challenge, stretching, coaching and developing. That's what you're competing with, [employees who are] looking for challenge, and growth and development, especially the high-potentials. HR and managers need to be aware of this and [either set up or] have engagement programs in place.

"These results mirror study after study Korn Ferry has done [including one HREOnline™ reported on in January] that show money is not the key motivator for employees," Cashman says. "Professionals who have progressed in their careers have done so for a reason. They're passionate about what they do and need to feel that they are being pushed professionally and continually learning new skills.

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