Why young achievers don’t stick around

Diane Stafford | The Kansas City Star

Hirers often complain that their young workers jump ship quickly.

A study published this summer in the Harvard Business Review confirmed that young top performers – the workers that organizations would most like to stick around – are leaving in droves.

Researchers found that high achievers, 30 years old on average with great school and work credentials, are leaving their employers after an average of 28 months.

Furthermore, three-quarters of them admit to sending out resumes, contacting search firms and interviewing for jobs at least once a year during their first employment. And 95 percent said they regularly watch for potential employers.

Multiple studies find that today’s younger workers have absolutely no intention of sticking around if they don’t feel like they’re learning, growing and being valued in a job.

Beth N. Carver, a consultant who has spent 12 years researching exit interviews, finds that a loss of training opportunities and a lack of mentors in the workplace are two of the biggest reasons why young workers leave.

“Companies need to recognize that these young workers are very mobile,” Carver said. “They have to understand that they want a personal and clearly articulated career path.”

With their social media skills and easy access to job postings on the Web, they don’t have to work hard at all to find new opportunities, Carver said.

“Sometimes changing jobs is about money,” her exit interview research reveals. “Sometimes it’s because the job isn’t what they thought it was going to be. More often, they weren’t getting the personal attention, the mentoring, the coaching, the training they wanted.”

This is different from earlier generations, Carver said.

“Companies need to recognize that young high performers want someone to hand-hold them a little bit, to work through what’s the best place for them in the company,” she said. “Understand that they expect collaboration, and they want mentors who will help move along their careers a little more quickly.”

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