The job market grows by the day, with fresh graduates joining the workforce. However, the number of employees leaving the workforce continues to rise, with more than four million employees quitting in May 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The top reason employees leave? Few opportunities to move up the career ladder. This is according to a McKinsey report which revealed that 41 percent of the employees that they surveyed quit because of the lack of career advancement opportunities

In this article, we look further into how significant career advancement is to employees, why a lack of career growth drives people to quit, and what you can do to improve career advancements within your organization. 

The Value of Career Advancement and Development to Employees 

Career advancement matters a lot to employees. However, some studies report that the two main reasons why everyone is constantly seeking it are to stay competitive in a growing market and achieve personal and financial satisfaction. 

According to a study published by Intech Open, career advancement plans are the only way to maintain “edge and high efficiency” in the marketplace. Employees’ growth through career advancement plans instills confidence in their knowledge and skills. Employees look for this growth because it validates their competence in their chosen profession. For most employees, it pays to know they are becoming a better version of themselves as they fulfill their work. 

As professional development satisfies employees personally, they are also rewarded financially. People who know more, do more, and get paid more. The way to learn more is to have career goals in mind and participate in career development activities that would make these goals happen. Thus, this is why 49 percent of employees expect employers to create career development plans for them, based on a 2021 poll from Monster.   

Why A Lack of Career Growth Drives People to Quit 

Now that we know that career growth is critical for making employees stay despite other factors that can force them to leave, let’s look next at why people feel strongly about quitting when providing career advancements isn’t an organization’s priority. 

1. Employees don’t want to work aimlessly. 

Career advancement completes employees’ workplace goals. It helps them find the career path they love and a job that keeps them from worrying about daily expenses. However, a certain kind of fulfillment can only be earned when they have a clear vision of their career trajectory in their chosen field. 

The Work Institute 2018 Retention Report revealed that 21 percent of employees left because of a lack of career development opportunities. When asked, these employees refuse to work in a “dead-end” job. Instead, they choose to find a better workplace that will lead them to avenues of different skills and experience. 

In the same survey, 18 percent of employees also quit their jobs because they are in school or planning to return to school. This shows that employees who do not find a clear path for growth in their current workplace seek learning and education to find a better career that will provide this opportunity. 

2. They feel organizations don’t appreciate their value. 

Valuing your employees could be shown through different means, but one of the more effective methods is when you address employees’ needs for growth. When employees don’t feel valued, it lowers their self-confidence, skill output, and, ultimately, their trust in their surroundings. As a result, employees lacking a sense of importance lean toward quitting the workplace. 

Employees will find no reason to continue in an institution where they are “not needed.” As Forbes published on their website, 66 percent of employees surveyed were willing to quit their jobs when unappreciated. This percentage is even higher in millennials at 76 percent.     

Reinforcing this idea, an article from Yahoo Finance showed that 46 percent of 2,000 employees quit their jobs because they feel undervalued. And again, when asked where their employers could have done better, career development programs are among the most mentioned factors. 

3. They find career growth elsewhere. 

While this is a common notion already, the idea bears repeating: a lack of career growth in one company compels employees to seek growth in another company. Pew Research Center reported that those who changed their workplaces found improvements, with 53 percent of employees finding more chances for career growth where they transferred.   

In addition, the highest number of people who switched careers belonged to Generation Z, people born from 1997 to 2012), according to Zippia. Forbes further emphasizes that this is the same workforce generation seeking employers who prioritize career growth. This only shows that they would instead leave an organization with no clear career mapping, even if it means leaving people that they were comfortable with or a salary covering their wants and needs.   

It’s Not Too Late. You Can Still Prevent Employees from Quitting. 

As The Execu|Search Group showed in their article, 86 percent of professionals would switch jobs if another company provided career growth opportunities. Conversely, this means that employees will stay if their current organizations provide a chance for growth

This is why career roadmaps are vital in every organization’s growth. Career mapping can provide these growth opportunities. These career roadmaps also allow for adjusting initiatives into tailor-made solutions that ultimately lead employees to reach their full potential. It may show little effect at the beginning, but you will not regret creating and adhering to a career roadmap when you see your employees thriving and your organization succeeding. 


We can help create a roadmap for your engineers’ career development goals. This way, there would be no problem making the best employees stay while you look for the best candidates that you can add to your organization. With our help, you can give career opportunities to engaged candidates ready to face challenging projects.   

Agile WPS can help not only with plans of ensuring career advancement opportunities but also with assuring you find the best people for the best jobs. While you open great windows for growth, we provide a candidate pipeline with the most promising effects that you aim for your organization. Contact us now!