The SPE Talent Council’s survey on factors impacting retention received responses from 1737 people. The link to the survey was primarily distributed through social media and kept open from late January to early July 2013. Participants were asked about 31 reasons for leaving and 31 reasons for staying with an employer. “Opportunity” was the “most important” reason that people stayed with an employer and “lack of opportunity” was the “most important” reason for leaving. However, “opportunity”, while still the biggest driver, was diminished in relative importance for both women and men over the age of 40.
Although “opportunity” clearly gathered the largest number of “most important” responses, “opportunity” only accounts for 10 to 12% of the “most important” responses for leaving and 7 to 8% of the responses for staying. To capture 50% of the “most important” responses as to why people left, 7 to 8 factors were needed, and to get to 80%, 15 to about 16 factors were needed. Similarly, with regard to staying, 9 to 11 factors were needed to capture 50% and 17 to 20 to capture 80%. When all women are compared with all men, the two groups agree on the same top five reasons for leaving and share nine of the top ten reasons for staying. However, when we split both genders by age into over and under the age of 40, more differences emerge.
A much higher percentage of women than men cite “conflict with supervisor,” “conflict with co-workers,” and “unsatisfactory working conditions” as reasons for leaving. Women also are far more likely than men to leave to follow a relocated partner and to cite work-life balance issues including “inflexible work schedules”, “too much time away from family”, and “pressure not to use work/life benefits” as “most important” reasons for leaving.
Women indicate “respect” much more often than men when it comes to picking “most important” factors for staying with an employer. For women under age 40, “flexible work schedules” are about as strong as “respect” in enhancing retention.
In their responses to the survey, men consistently place a greater emphasis than women on “pay”. This may be a reason why throughout their careers men tend to earn more than women. Women place a higher importance on other factors. Women are believed to be less likely than men to negotiate pay. The survey results showing the lower priority that women place on money suggests that as a group, women may be less motivated than men to negotiate about money than about other factors of higher priority to them.
Of the 1737 survey respondents, 80 people reported that they had left the petroleum industry. The most frequently cited “most important” reason was “to move to a location I like better.” The second most often selected reason was “retirement”. The strongest incentives for both young mothers and retirees to return to the petroleum industry workforce are “access to part time work”, a “chance to make a difference”, and “ability t