Lack of career progression ‘key motivation for leaving a job’

Australians have cited a lack of career progression as the primary reason for wanting to leave their current job.

Morgan McKinley polled 351 people across a range of industries and found 52 per cent were unfulfilled by existing promotion chances. The organisation claimed this percentage will rise as the economy picks up.

Sixty per cent listed career progression problems as the top motivation for wanting to leave a job, while issues with basic pay came a distant second with 15.7 per cent of responses.

One result that may concern Australian organisations is that over two-thirds of respondents would consider a job abroad if the opportunity arose, which could lead to the country's skills gap widening.

Most people were keen to stay in the Asia-Pacific region, with Asia constituting the most popular choice (almost 41 per cent). Singapore and Hong Kong were particularly prominent destinations, although the US and the UK were also desirable at 22 and 13 per cent of the vote respectively. 

Louise Langridge, joint managing director of Morgan McKinley Australia, said the research revealed an openness and mobility among employees.

“What is abundantly clear from the survey is that Australians working in professional disciplines covered by the survey are highly sophisticated in their ambitions,” she explained.

“[This] calls for an individualised approach both for candidates who are looking to make the right career choices and for hiring organisations that are looking to secure top talent.”

Why do people want to progress?

While many employees seek career development opportunities, the reasons for doing so were varied.

The most popular responses indicated a desire for a broader remit (approximately 27 per cent) and an increase in the overall job package, which was chosen by a third of people.

Just below one-quarter of individuals picked 'other', with the category including gaining more industry experience, learning new skills and having the opportunity to face different challenges.

Relatively few people were concerned about their salary, as only 6.6 per cent claimed it was at the top of their mind when seeking a promotion. Similarly, a new job title only garnered 4.3 per cent of responses. Despite employees showing a willingness to move abroad for the right position, only 4.8 per cent listed it as their top reason for pursuing career progression.

“Our survey indicates that the majority do not feel fulfilled with their career progression in their current role, and although it is a slim majority [