17 January 2018

Last year we reported that, on average, 44% of Architecture and Design employees planned to leave their current employer within the next 12 months, and our survey data shows that this is close to what happened. A lot of people moved jobs in 2017 with 40% of respondents with 3-5 years of experience and 29% of respondents with more than 10 years of experience reporting they had been in their current job for less than 12 months.

Employees with less than 2 years of experience were the most likely to leave their current employer in 2016, whereas this year’s data reports the opposite. Of these people, 25% fewer plan to leave their employer by the end of 2018. The other categories of 3-5 years and 6-9 years of experience are more likely to leave their current employer within the next 12 months, both showing a 5% increase.

“31% of experienced staff changed jobs in the last 12 months”

These categories also report a 14% and 17% drop in perceived career development opportunities.

Combining our employee and employer data shows the standout factor contributing to the drop in movement from less experienced staff, is career development. 61% of these employees feel that their current employer offers good career development opportunities, now higher than any other experience category and represents a 20% shift. Supporting this view, employers identified personal development as equal to communication and pay & benefits improvements which had contributed to improving retention in 2017."

“Only 33% of larger firms felt their staff are happy”

Overall, 75% tell us that staff retention was either the same or worse, in 2017 compared to 2016. One group of employers stood out for bucking this trend, 38% of medium-sized practices reported that their retention had improved in 2017 and it is this group of practices who have the most to say about how they did it.

But what else has or can change to increase retention levels positively? “It’s important to remember that people leave jobs for one of two reasons; either something changed, or something didn’t. There are many examples of practices trying to do something about it by making employee welfare, communication, reward and career development of equal importance to winning projects. If you’ve spent all your energy in 2017 winning projects, but you can’t keep the people that will deliver them in 2018, it’s been a false economy. You can’t do one without the other.

We asked how employers thought their staff felt in 2017 and overall the answer was ‘OK’. 50% of small and medium-sized practices thought their staff felt ‘happy’ but this was reduced to 33% when the same question was asked to larger firms.

Business leaders within large companies seem to be feeling the pressure too, with 78% reporting that their jobs will be more difficult in 2018 when compared to last year. This, combined with the fact that none reported that retention would improve, indicates that the perception for many is that large companies are a tough place to be right now.

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