New data from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants found that a majority of young professionals feel they lack a definitive career path.

The report, "Generation Next: managing talent in the public sector," found that only 26 percent of those polled consider themselves to have been given a clear career path by their current employer. Representing the latest entry in the ACCA's Generation Next series, the report sought the opinions and career ambitions of more than 1,400 ACCA members and students, ranging from 16 to 36 years old.

"Generation Next respondents in the public sector say a transparent career path is the most important issue in both attracting them to an employer and retaining them there," stated Alex Metcalfe, the ACCA's head of public sector policy. "The Generation Next survey [also] showed that 92 percent of respondents were attracted to public sector employers that would provide the opportunity for them to learn and develop skills. It is essential public organizations meet this challenge."

Learning on the job proved to be important to young professionals, with 52 percent of respondents believing the method to be "effective." Euighty-seven percent of survey-takers also agreed that new technology would help them focus on more valuable tasks going forward.

“All these learning strategies [of] mentoring, job rotations and coaching are forms of experiential learning, where the employee ‘learns through doing,’" added Metcalfe. "Clearly, there is an opportunity for public sector employers to increase the use of these experiential forms of learning to increase the effectiveness of their learning and development strategies."

"Public sector organizations are typically unable to compete on remuneration for top talent, but must instead communicate a holistic offering to their candidates that includes clear career paths and a positive work environment," Metcalfe concluded. "Yet whatever strategies they decide to adopt, it is essential that public sector employers recognize the importance of talent management as a key component of their future strategies.’"

For the full report, head to the ACCA's site here.

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