Ceridian’s Pulse of Talent Report: Career Growth and Purpose Crucial for Retention

Millennial employees are especially hungry for challenge and recognition

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December 5, 2018

As the world of work rapidly evolves, power is shifting from employer to employee. Ceridian, a global human capital management technology company, today released the results of its 2018 Pulse of Talent report. The report, conducted through a survey by Nielsen, asked 2,001 U.S. and Canadian employees about their views on loyalty, advancing their careers, and satisfaction in the workplace.

According to the report, a large proportion of employees are open to new job opportunities. While 37 percent of respondents are either looking actively or casually, another 36 percent would still consider a new position if they were approached. Only 27 percent said they have no interest in a job outside of their current company.

For those aged 18-24, the findings revealed nearly three-quarters of employees decide within the first year of a new job if they are going to stay for the long haul. More notably are workers who only psychologically quit, but still stick around. The research showed respondents who say they are unhappy indicate they would still work with their current employer, on average, another 2.4 years. With this in mind, the lesson for organizations is clear: they must cultivate loyalty at the outset.

“If your workplace culture is lacking and your leadership isn’t transparent, authentic, and people-centric, then employee engagement will naturally be low,” noted Lisa Sterling, Chief People and Culture Officer, Ceridian. “Our data shows the real reason a person becomes a flight risk is because employers fail to focus on addressing career growth and development – which are required to retain key people. This often results in alienating top employees and makes it a struggle to attract new ones.”

Why Employees Stay and Why They Leave

  • Not surprisingly, respondents of all ages cite financial compensation as the top reason for leaving their last job; a factor for 37 percent of respondents aged 18 to 34 and for 24 percent aged 50-plus (when being able to select multiple factors).
  • When asked to select the single most important factor that makes them stay with their current employer: more people said they love what they do (15 percent). Salary, job security, benefits, and work flexibility were all less common responses but made the top five.

The Pulse of Talent report also uncovered other unique retention challenges facing employers:

The Search for Growth

  • A desire to tackle new challenges every few years drives 39 percent of respondents to look outside their current company, while 32 percent said they feel they need to leave to advance their career.
  • Employees feel that, on average, two years is a reasonable timeframe to receive a promotion. Yet, they themselves report having received a promotion in five years with their current employer.

Finding Purpose

  • Among employees surveyed who say their company practices their stated values, 90 percent were satisfied with their job versus 52 percent when they feel their companies did not practice what they preached.
  • More startling is the fact only 51 percent of employees feel their contributions leave an impact on business goals, and when they do, 92 percent of those are satisfied with their job. On the other hand, a large cohort of 49 percent are still unaware if their work has an impact, and of those only 58 percent are satisfied in their job.

“In general, I don’t believe companies think enough about retention strategies or challenge common assumptions about why people actually stay. Top talent won’t rest on their laurels,” said Sterling. “Companies that want to succeed in retaining their star employees need to paint a picture of how their contributions can and do make a difference.”

To download the 2018 Pulse of Talent Report, visit

About the survey

The survey was conducted through an online panel by The Nielsen Company on behalf of Ceridian from July 11 to August 14, 2018. A total of 2,001 full-time employees in North America (1,000 in the U.S. and 1,001 in Canada) were asked about their relationship with their current employer, and their career plans. Data were weighted by age, gender region and employment status based on census data to align with the proportions in the population.

About Ceridian

Ceridian. Makes Work Life Better™.

Ceridian is a global human capital management software company. Dayforce, our flagship cloud HCM platform, provides human resources, payroll, benefits, workforce management, and talent management functionality. Our platform is used to optimize management of the entire employee lifecycle, including attracting, engaging, paying, deploying, and developing people. Ceridian has solutions for organizations of all sizes. Visit or follow us @Ceridian.

Media Contact:
Teri Murphy

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