Job seekers put a high priority on career developmentopportunities when looking for employment. Career development is more important to a large percentage of job seekers than compensation and benefits, work culture, and work/life balance. At the end of last year, 1,363 U.S., Canadian, and Latin American Linkedin members responded to a survey posted by Right Management that asked them, "What is most important when considering a new employer?" By far, the most important reason of five options given was “career development prospects.” The ranking by percentage of respondents selecting each item is:

1.      Career development prospects (40%)

2.      Work/life balance (21%)

3.      Innovative company culture (15%)

4.      Competitive compensation and benefits (12%)

5.      Good rapport with manager (8%)

George Herrmann, Executive Vice President of Americas at Right Management, talks about the implications of this ranking for managers:

Managers who take the time to learn what's important to their team members are in the ideal position to help bring employee and organizational goals together. Better alignment will result in greater contribution and career satisfaction, leading to improved employee engagement – all of which ultimately impacts the bottom line.

I agree with Herrmann about alignment of employee and organizational goals and the critical role of managers in making this happen. Even though “rapport with manager” is ranked relatively low as a criterion for employer selection, we know from other research that it ranks very high in terms of employee engagement and clarity of performance goals. Employees depend on their managers for learning and advancement opportunities. When that doesn’t happen, they feel stymied in their progress. This is more evidence of the importance of implementing the 5As Framework about which I have written previously.

Of course, the caveat to all of this is that it is a year since Right Management  conducted the survey of Linkedin members and employment opportunities for most of those respondents are probably much worse now than they were then. The most important reason for selecting an employer today is probably: has a job opening.