Lack of Support for Seasoned Workforce Is a Top Reason U.S. Workers over 55 Are Leaving Their Jobs, 15Five Research Reveals

New Data Shows Widespread Lack of Managerial Support and Career Guidance for Employees in Gen X Demographic and Above

SAN FRANCISCO--()--Employee attrition remains an ongoing concern for U.S. companies; more than 4 million Americans quit their jobs in October – a majority of whom are aged 55 years and older. New research from 15Five, the holistic performance management platform, reveals companies are coming up short with resources and career guidance for the highly 'life experienced' segment of the workforce.

15Five’s survey of more than 1,000 employed U.S. adults reveals that people over the age of 55 are more likely to have an employer who doesn’t provide any professional development resources. For those over 55 years old, the data is telling: 68.5% of those between 55 and 64 years old and 70.3% of those over 65 years old say their employer doesn’t provide them with assessments to determine their talents and strengths. Of those in the 25-39 year old demographic, 34.8% report they aren’t receiving those assessments.

“For older Americans – those 55 years and older – the data is both revealing and unsettling. It also offers a window into why so many resigned during the pandemic,” says Jennie Yang, VP of People at 15Five. “Our new data shows ageism is prevalent in the workplace, with a lack of managerial support and career guidance for the Gen X demographic and above. Given the labor shortage and difficulty in finding workers to fill the 11 million open job slots, it’s an ideal time for companies to re-examine their approach and ensure equitable support for all cohorts. We believe people should be allowed to work as long as they wish, with all the attendant privileges and advancement opportunities as those who are beginning their careers.”

The data also unpacks the impact managers have on employee job satisfaction. More than half (53.8% ) of Americans say one of the top reasons for leaving a company is unsupportive management, while an even greater number (57.6%) of employees say supportive upper management and a good direct manager are two of the most important factors for them to remain at a company.

Managers play an important role in guiding employees through career development, but not every cohort is receiving the same attention. The majority of employees who are 55 to 64 years old report that their manager hasn’t had any conversations with them about their career vision.


  • 68.5% of respondents 55 to 64 years old and 70.3% of those 65 years and older say their employer doesn’t provide them with assessments to determine their talents and strengths
  • 45.2% of those 55 to 64 years old say their employer doesn’t make it easy to identify how their strengths match the requirements of open roles
  • 60.4% of those between 55 and 64 years old say their manager only considers their career as it pertains to the company

The research emphasizes that career growth and professional development are important factors in employee retention, as employees are focused on more than just compensation and benefits. Nearly half of Americans say clear career growth paths and learning and development provided by an employer are key elements when considering whether to remain at a company. More than three-quarters of Americans (75.9%) report they work harder for an employer who shows they care about their growth as a professional.

“Empowerment and career development are what all employees crave, and also benefit the business,” said Yang. “Employees that feel empowered to pursue their career and professional development are more engaged, more productive, and more likely to remain with the company. It generates the best outcome for both employers and employees.”

Read the full report here.

Survey Methodology

In September 15Five and Propeller Insights polled more than 1,000 employed adults to uncover the manager’s role in retention 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.


Emily Roberts


Emily Roberts