Employees left out of the loop about career path at work, survey finds

Many professionals want to discuss growth opportunities, but often don't get the chance

Posted November 4, 2015

A new survey shows employees want more feedback on their future from the boss. In research from Robert Half Finance & Accounting, 40 percent of professionals said their managers never discuss their career paths with them. The data also suggests professionals are hungry for this information: 37 percent said they would like to discuss their career paths at least quarterly; another 45 percent want to review their options annually.

In the survey, finance and accounting professionals were asked, “How often would you like your manager to discuss your career path with you?” and “How often does your manager discuss your career path with you?” Their responses:


How often respondents would like to discuss

How often manager discusses


7 %

40 %


45 %

44 %


37 %

11 %


9 %

3 %


2 %

2 %

“Supervisors who are not discussing career progression with their staff are missing an opportunity to engage and retain their team,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. “Employees who don't know when they'll earn a promotion or raise, or understand how they fit into a company's long-term strategy aren't likely to stick around long.” 

Robert Half Finance & Accounting offers three tips for managers on conducting career path discussions:

  1. Ask employees about their objectives. Never assume you know where team members want to take their careers — not everyone wants to follow a linear path to the top. If you don't know where staff members want to go, you can't help them get there.
  2. Be up front about expectations. Educate your employees about the experience or skills needed to reach their goals, and then lay out a specific plan — including leadership development, mentoring, and training opportunities — to help them achieve success.
  3. Don't wait for the annual performance review. Set periodic check-ins with your employees to discuss their progress or where they need to make improvements to move up within your organization.

Employee Relations EssentialsJ. J. Keller's Employee Relations Essentials manual offers HR best practice tips and real-world applications in one convenient source.


J. J. Keller's FREE HRClicks™ email newsletter brings quick-read human resources-related news right to your email inbox.

Sign up to receive HRClicks™.