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Here are 5 ways to retain ‘career nomads’

Sought-after employees are intellectually curious and prize appreciation and recognition.
By: | October 29, 2019 • 2 min read

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, older millennials (those born in the early 1980s) in the middle of their careers have already switched jobs 7.8 times. A new study by Korn Ferry refers to these restless millennials as “career nomads.”

What are the characteristics of career nomads? Korn Ferry cites its own research showing that people with high levels of intellectual curiosity are, on average, 2.2. times more likely to be career nomads and those who have a tolerance for ambiguity are 2.5 times more likely to fall into that category.

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The new study finds that 88% of professionals believe that changing jobs frequently has had a positive impact on their careers. The same can’t be said for employers, however: the cost for companies to replace high-performing career nomads is between 50% to 75% of their salary, Korn Ferry finds.

The survey reveals that career nomads prize leveraging their skills in better context, aligning with organizational purpose, and finding appreciation and recognition.

“Career nomads are intellectually curious,” says Jean-Marc Laouchez, president of the Korn Ferry Institute. “They have a tolerance for ambiguity. They are willing to take risks that can help them excel and provide value for their employer.”

When it comes to fighting the career-switching trend, there’s relatively little that employers can do, he says. There are, however, five things they can do that will at least extend the time that career nomads spend at their organization.

Here are those five things, according to Korn Ferry:

  1. Offer compelling career-development opportunities
  2. Support work/life balance
  3. Improve leader/manager effectiveness
  4. Enhance employee wellbeing
  5. Re-strategize rewards and benefits
Andrew R. McIlvaine is senior editor at Human Resource Executive®. A Penn State graduate, Andy also spent two years in the U.S. Army prior to attending college and attained the rank of sergeant while serving in the Army Reserves. He can be reached at [email protected]

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