One in three employees claim to have a job rather than a career, new Mercer survey finds

Lack of career plans hinders retention and engagement efforts

Figure 1: Employee perspective on career path (Graphic: Business Wire)

NEW YORK--()--As workforce hiring increases, concerns about engaging employees and retaining critical talent are top of mind for organizations. According to Mercer’s latest survey on employee perspectives, Employee Views on Moving Up vs. Moving On, one-third (32%) of employees consider their employment to be a job, not a career. Moreover, more than three-quarters (78%) of employees report they would stay with their current employer if they knew their career path (see Figure 1).

“The dynamic interplay of multiple trends – a disenchanted workforce that is multi-generational, skill shortages, global expansion, and gender equality – is creating real challenges for managing talent,” said Ilene Siscovick, Partner and North America Talent and Career Leader at Mercer. “By outlining specific skill sets for career paths, organizations can help employees better understand growth potential within the company and improve overall efforts to retain and motivate their existing workforce.”

Conducted in February and March by third-party research firm SSRS, Mercer’s survey assesses employee sentiments on opportunities, or lack thereof, for advancement with their current employer. The findings provide insights to help employers refine their engagement, retention, and development initiatives and improve their overall approach to managing talent. The survey includes responses from 1,520 employed workers in the United States and Canada.

Among the survey’s other findings:

  • More than half (51%) of employees report they receive “no input” or “input only once in a while” from superiors on how to perform better in their roles.
  • More than one-quarter (28%) of employees have considered leaving their employer and moving to a competitor within the last 12 months.
  • When asked if their company makes it easy and transparent to understand opportunities for advancement within the organization, 26% report “not at all” or “hardly ever” and a another 27% say “only from time to time.”

“Clearly, lack of communication from managers along with lack of transparency about career progression within the organization is impacting employee loyalty and hampering retention efforts,” said Ms. Siscovick. “By defining advancement opportunities and conveying related competencies, companies can equip employees with the necessary information to grow professionally and financially while improving engagement efforts and optimizing a workforce that effectively contributes to business success.”

To address this need, Mercer recently launched Mercer Career View, an employee-centric app which empowers employees to directly navigate career progression opportunities within the organization. This solution brings to life an employer’s career management infrastructure to deliver the greatest return on investment in talent. “Career frameworks have become a priority for companies because they successfully match workforce capabilities with opportunities and fill talent pipelines appropriately – initiatives that directly improve business outcomes,” said Ms. Siscovick. “Most importantly, they enable employees to seek opportunities within the company, enhancing overall engagement.”

To download the survey highlights visit:

About Mercer

Mercer is a global consulting leader in talent, health, retirement and investments. Mercer helps clients around the world advance the health, wealth and performance of their most vital asset – their people. Mercer’s more than 20,000 employees are based in more than 40 countries and the firm operates in over 130 countries. Mercer is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies (NYSE: MMC), a global professional services firm offering clients advice and solutions in the areas of risk, strategy and people. With 57,000 employees worldwide and annual revenue exceeding $13 billion, Marsh & McLennan Companies is also the parent company of Marsh, a leader in insurance broking and risk management; Guy Carpenter, a leader in providing risk and reinsurance intermediary services; and Oliver Wyman, a leader in management consulting. For more information, visit Follow Mercer on Twitter @Mercer.


Stacy Bronstein, 215 982 8025

Release Summary

As workforce hiring increases, concerns about engaging employees and retaining critical talent are top of mind for organizations.


Stacy Bronstein, 215 982 8025