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Factors impacting attraction and retention of employees

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Presentation given to the Committee on Geological and Geotechnical Engineering, Board of Earth Sciences and Resources, National Research Council of the National Academies Meeting, May 29, 2014 Open …

Presentation given to the Committee on Geological and Geotechnical Engineering, Board of Earth Sciences and Resources, National Research Council of the National Academies Meeting, May 29, 2014 Open Session


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  • 1. Factors Impacting Attraction and Retention of Employees Eve Sprunt, PhD Consultant 1
  • 2. Impact of Nancy Hopkin’s 1994 survey of the lab space allocated to female faculty at MIT relative to their male colleagues Shift emphasis from individuals to demographic groups Reveal bias and demographic trends Management is data-driven Key drivers for management are attrition and retention 2 Photo of the tape measure now in the MIT Museum that Prof. Nancy Hopkins used to demonstrate bias against female faculty
  • 3. Society of Petroleum Engineers Surveys  2013 social media survey on factors impacting attraction and retention with 1737 responses, SPE Paper #168112  December 2011 of SPE members under age 45 with 1392 responses, SPE Paper #151971  May 2011 of entire SPE membership with 5570 responses, SPE Paper #160928 Society of Exploration Geophysicists (2013)  Almost 1600 responses, The Leading Edge (April 2014 and July 2014) 3
  • 4. Professional Society Surveys • Exit interviews are notoriously inaccurate • Professional societies can ask questions that employers may fear are too invasive • But people are more reluctant to divulge personal information in surveys distributed through social media than those coming by email from a professional society 4 Survey Distribution Total Women Men No Gender # % # % # % 2013 Retention Survey social media 1737 422 24% 875 50% 440 25% Dec 2011 SPE under age 45 emailed 1392 428 31% 947 68% 17 1% May 2011 SPE members emailed 5570 774 14% 4078 73% 718 13%
  • 5. Factors Impacting Employees 5 • Pain-gain balance • Opportunities to gain • Pain – hostile work environment • Factors to reduce the pain (e.g. better work- life integration)
  • 6. • People are motivated by opportunity. • Satisfaction with work-life balance depends on opportunity 6
  • 7. Opportunity or Insufficient Opportunity are the biggest drivers for people to join or leave an employer. For older people, Opportunity is still the most important factor, but not by as big a margin over other factors. 7
  • 8. For Both Men and Women Under Age 40 Same Top 4 Reasons  Opportunity, challenge, career potential  Develop new competencies & grow into a position with new responsibilities  Respect  Good Pay But top 4 account for only about 25% of “most important” reasons 8
  • 9. Why People Leave Slide 9 9
  • 10. Why People Leave Slide 10 Agreement between men and women on top five reasons • Insufficient opportunity • Develop new competencies • Leadership/direction of company • Better fit to core competencies • For better pay 10
  • 11. 11 Under age of 40 Men rank as more important • Lack of recognition • Self-employment • Severance pay Women rank as more important • Conflict with boss • Inflexible work schedule • Follow relocated partner • Conflict with co-workers Are conflicts with supervisors and co-workers more common and/or more severe for women?
  • 12. Different Ways of Making Comparisons Slide 12 • We compared different groups in both by how they ranked the factors and by the difference in the percentage labeling a factor “most important.” • “Conflict with boss” was a big percentage difference, but a small ranking difference • “Follow relocated partner” was significantly different both ways 12
  • 13. Gender Differences in Reasons for Leaving Slide 13 • Women are more likely to leave because of conflict with their boss and to follow their partner • Women more likely to follow relocated partner • Men are more likely to leave to be self employed 13
  • 14. 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 20 -24 25 - 29 30 - 34 35 -39 40 - 44 45 -49 50 - 54 55 -59 60 -64 %ofGenderinAgeBracket Age Dual Career Couples in the Petroleum Industry The Emerging Majority Men Women 14
  • 15. Meet mate at school or at work Often same discipline Female petroleum engineers more likely to have a petroleum engineer as their partner than their male peers 15
  • 16. Relative earnings important in decision making Women more likely to be in couple of “equal earners” Younger men more to be in an “equal earner” couple 16 From 2013 Survey of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists with nearly 1600 responses 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% 50% 25 to 29 30 to 34 35 to 39 40 to 44 45 to 49 50 to 54 55 to 59 %GenderinAgeRange Age Range Society of Exploration Geophysicists Survey "Equal Earners" - 40% to 60% Household Income Men Women
  • 17. How much each person contributes to household income impacts: Balance of power in relationship Family priorities  Protect both incomes  Household duties  Childcare 17
  • 18. Single breadwinner may have difficulty understanding the lifestyle and priorities of dual career couples Men under age 40:  Dual career men more likely to leave because of working too many hours or conflict with their boss  Other men more likely to leave for better pay and benefits 18
  • 19. 19 Equal Women Equal Men Dominant Women Dominant Men % Yes Rank % Yes Rank % Yes Rank % Yes Rank Anywhere if asked 3% 16 13% 12 4% 16 11% 13 For a promotion 37% 5 33% 7 39% 8 33% 6 For international experience 54% 2 49% 2 52% 4 49% 2 To gain valuable experience 59% 1 55% 1 55% 2 49% 1 To a better location from a personal perspective 43% 4 48% 3 55% 3 44% 4 For more money 35% 7 40% 4 58% 1 47% 3 To a location where my partner can find work 50% 3 37% 5 41% 7 21% 9 To avoid unemployment 36% 6 37% 6 51% 5 41% 5 SEG Survey:  Relative appeal of 18 conditions  Big differences are potential sources of conflict
  • 20. SPE and SEG surveys - about 80% of equal earner men and women consider both careers to be equally important. Managers don’t want to “waste resources” on people who they do not consider fast track material Some managers - essential to have the employee decide which career is more important 20
  • 21. Women more likely to be asked than men Women with children 2x as likely to be asked as men with children Women with children working for the same employer as their partner 2X as likely to be asked as equivalent man Men and women with children 2X as likely to be asked if they work for same employer If not asking, what is the supervisor assuming? 21
  • 22. 22 Advantages • Coordinate relocation • Ease in picking home location • Easier childcare • Coordinate travel • Coordinate daily schedule Disadvantages •Employer requires that one career leads and the other follows •Benefits reduced •Employer coordinates careers as a couple •Job security
  • 23. Why People Left Petroleum Industry Top 3 reasons for women:  For more interesting work  Insufficient opportunity  To live in a location I like better To “take care of my child/children was in 7th place behind several “opportunities” Top 3 reasons for men:  To live in a location I like better  Retirement  Terminated and couldn’t get another job 23
  • 24. Many women don’t start becoming frustrated with their rate of advancement at work until they are in their 30’s. If a mother thinks that her opportunities are limited, she may decide that the rewards of working are not sufficiently attractive. 24
  • 25. Under age 40 Women consider the following factors to be much more important than their male peers  Flexible work schedule  Good relationship with co-workers  Trust in organization and management 25
  • 26. 26  A chance to make a difference  Part-time work  Telecommuting Of 20 possible incentives, 3 were most enticing for people of all ages who had left the workforce Retirees Mothers
  • 27. Exclusion from the “fast track” • Lack of a sponsor • Conflict with supervisor • Conflict with co-workers • Communication issues • Unwillingness to relocate • Perceptions of insufficient dedication to career 27
  • 28. 28
  • 29. Pain-gain balance Sense of opportunity is critical Hostile work environment major factor for those impacted Workforce of the future will be primarily composed of dual career couples for whom relocation and child-rearing are big challenges Work flexibility can alleviate the pain side of the balance to improve employee satisfaction 29
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