How people create opportunities for career development, and growth through learning has aways fascinated me. I’ve previously undertaken research into the subject which has yielded some disappointing results.

For example, at a major UK charity I worked with, over half (53%) of 800 respondents said they did not have a development plan outlining agreed training and development needs for the coming year, and almost half (49%) said they did not meet regularly with their manager to discuss progress.

I also found that out of 1800 respondents working for a local authority, only 33% felt their career development aspirations are being met, and from a team of 400 graduates in a global company, only 35% felt they got regular, useful feedback from their manager.

These statistics are pretty uninspiring I think you’d agree, but so what?

Companies are always talking about the importance of attracting, retaining and engaging the best people, but these numbers show that these experiences are not always well delivered.

And employees are looking for personal involvement and more self determination in their work and career choices, yet these numbers show me that neither the company or the employee is well served by the processes currently in place.

What do you think?

How representative is the research I have? For sure the sample sizes are reasonable but is the approach to career and development planning really this bad across the board?

I’m currently doing some work with a company called Careergro, and we want to improve and share a broader understanding of how companies and employees perceive career development.

So we would like you to help us with this research and in order to do this, we’ve published two very short surveys, one for employers, and one for employees. Each survey takes only around three minutes to complete and will give us useful data which we will freely share.

The first cut of data will be available at the forthcoming CIPD learning and development event in London on 25th and 26th April, and we will also be sharing the results and reporting back here and on HRZone too.

Here is the link to the employer survey, and here is the link to the employee survey.

We would really appreciate your help in completing this, and I look forward to sharing the results with you soon. If you have any comment or further material you are willing to share please do so I'd be pleased to read your views.

Thanks - Doug

Tags: HR, and, career, development, engagement, learning, progression

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All the best with this work.


Thank you David. I'm conscious that folks are often asked to complete surveys and I'm hoping that by keeping this one short, and making a promise to share the output, that will encourage people to participate. Fingers crossed!

Hello old cyber-picking buddy!

This sounds very intriguing-I intend to check it out from the comfort of home without all this nuisance white noise day job distraction (there goes one now…)

Just 2pence briefly…from my observations not limited to my direct employers, this career development thing is for the most part an afterthought. A cool thing to pay lip service to because it is quite important to people. But the reality? Far removed.

People say believe half of what you see (in the marketing / recruiting literature)

Son and none of what you hear…


Most performance management tools I have seen are three-legged: goals and results, behaviors / norms and career development / personal growth. Most performance management users are lucky to get one in three right, one guess which one that is!


Howdy! Great to hear from you and if you do have the time to fill in the survey that would be much appreciated. I sense the same as you - that career development is kinda tacked on, not really thought about and much less acted upon.

I like the way you set out the three legged monster. re goals and results you may be interested in a piece I wrote recently called Serious About Performance which I scribbled after watching a particularly good TEDx talk by Dr Chris Shambrook. Here is a link in case you want to know more.

Hi folks

Really pleased with the data and comments that we are gathering. Here are a couple of quick things that jumped out for me so far:

46% of employers are either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with career development in their organisations. Over half say their employees talk about their careers with their manager annually or even less than that! Not very engaging eh?

We will be sharing more information at the UK CIPD conference next week in London and if you haven't taken part yet and would like to - here are the links again:

Here is the link to the employer survey
Here is the link to the employee survey

I've also modded the survey so that when you complete it you get an instant snapshot of results right there and then.

Cheers - Doug

Hi folks

In case anyone is interested - the latest output on Preferred Learning Methods is now online. If you'd like to take a look click here

Cheers - Doug

Thanks to all who have taken part in our career development survey so far. 24 employers and 53 employees had participated when we took this cut of data. We're keeping the survey open and numbers continue to grow and we wanted to share some of the findings to date.


43% of employers said that career conversations between an employee and a manager took place annually or less frequently, compared to 50% of employees. At the other end of the scale 22% of employers said the conversation was more freqient than quarterly compared to just 7% of employees.


Here there was almost no difference between the groups with 39% of employers saying they had tools to monitor career development compared with 41% of employees.


Only 24% of employees felt satisfied or very satisfied with career development where they work compared with 39% for employers. 39% of employees chose dissatisfied and very dissatisfied compared to 35% of employers.

There are some interesting gaps here - I wonder if the lack of conversation frequency plus an absence of tools equals more dissatisfaction? We'll be carrying out some interviews with HR folok on this subject soon - watch this space to see what they think.

Meantime the full set of figures can be seen here and we'll share more results as the body of work continues to grow.

Great discussion here a career development specialist (and doctoral student), I'm keenly interested in the impact of career development (or lack thereof) and its links to employee engagement. My work, which has focussed on career management as an employee engagement strategy has resulted in the development of a Career Engagement model (see for more info).

Good luck with your work; I'll have to visit this site more often to see how things are developing!

I replied to a later message but something here caught my eye. In my experience, part of the challenge is that organizations don't really "get" what career development is...they only think they do. Of course, employees don't quite get it either. I'm in Canada and we don't really encourage people, at any age, to take an active role in managing their own careers leaving a lot of uncertainty as to how to go about it.





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