It's a tough question for any firm. As we all know, often the only thing harder than attracting great employees is keeping them. Even if your firm is lucky enough to boast a stellar team with lengthy track records, barriers to workers' career progress -- whether real or perceived -- could undermine the company's efforts, as a recent survey points out.

Among more than 1,600 workers surveyed by, 30 percent said that they are dissatisfied with their career progress. That can, in turn, adversely impact overall job satisfaction, notes Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources. It could also translate into a headache for employers, since the survey found that 42 percent of those who are dissatisfied with their career progress plan to leave their current positions, with 28 percent expecting to change jobs before the end of the year. What's more, CareerBuilder reported that the majority of those who are dissatisfied with their career progress aren't enthusiastic about going to work each day, and more than one-third are actively looking for a new job on a daily or weekly basis.

So, what do workers think is standing between them and career satisfaction? Workers ranked a lack of career advancement opportunities at their present employer at the top of the list. More than a quarter (27 percent) felt that their current organizations don't offer much opportunity to move up the company ladder, while one in four workers said that they've been overlooked for a promotion this year.

Lack of appropriate education, training and experience ranked second, cited by 18 percent of workers, followed by inadequate direction from supervisors. Fifteen percent of workers said that their supervisors don't provide effective mentoring and instruction to help them develop and improve. Ten percent of workers blamed the economy for making it difficult to advance their career plans, while 7 percent of workers said that they don't have a solid support network at their organizations.

With the exception of the economy, all of these issues are issues that can be addressed, if employers are willing to put in the time and effort, in the form of career development plans, regular training and formal or informal mentoring programs. If your firm has all of those things in place, you're a step ahead. But you still have to seek regular input from your staff to make sure that the programs you offer are meeting their needs. And if you don't have those types of programs in place and think you don't have the resources to offer them, you could be in for a costly lesson. Hiring and training new employees costs extra time and money, two things CPA firms -- or any other businesses for that matter -- rarely have in abundance.


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