Tech talent retention: why career development matters

Finding great talent is hard, but holding onto it is even harder. Studies have shown that a lack of opportunity to learn and progress is one of the key reasons 40% of new hires leave their company within the first year of joining.

In recent years, scope for learning and development opportunities has become a much more important factor for candidates searching for a job. In fact, in a survey we carried out on over 180 tech professionals, 77% of them admitted that they’d considered leaving their role due to lack of career development or progression. In the survey, it was also recognised that 78% of respondents consider learning and development a crucial factor when in search of a new job.

Learning and development is just as important to employers as employees. Companies that invest in employee training and development achieve a 24% higher profit margin in comparison to companies that don’t, as well as increased productivity and morale among staff. So, with learning and development being fundamental to employees and employers alike, it’s crucial that you stay on top of your game to give your employees the level of training and development they need. Whatever the size of your business, there are plenty of things you can do to support your employees with their career development. Here’s a few ideas:

Rethink the ladder

In previous years, the conventional way to progress in any business was by moving up the career ladder, which doesn’t give much flexibility to employees interested in taking alternative progression routes within the business.

A good example of a company rethinking the ladder is Spotify. Spotify created a career progression platform called ‘career steps’ which enables their team to progress in a way that suits them, rather than have to follow a linear path. Once you’ve established the various career development routes available within your business, be sure to promote them and make sure everyone is aware of them and how they work.

Personal development plans

One of the most simple, yet effective ways you can support your employees with their development is by creating tailored personal development plans. The aim of a personal development plan is to help individuals clearly set out their goals, choose which progression route they want to follow and create a development strategy. Taking the time to sit down with each of your employees, setting targets and identifying areas of improvement will give your team clarity around how to achieve their goals, and will make a big difference to individual progression. But don’t stop there: make sure to check-in regularly with your team to ensure they stay on track with their plan.

External courses

Another way of helping your employees progress is by investing in external training courses. It may be a more expensive method of learning and development, but it achieves results. A study showed that companies who send their employees on regular external training courses have a 37% increase in productivity as well as increased turnover and heightened levels of happiness. Whether it’s a coding course, software training or a leadership workshop, investing in external training courses is a highly effective way of giving your employees the opportunity to learn from industry experts and develop their skills across the board.

Invest in a Learning and Development Manager

If you’d rather keep your training in house, employing a specialist Learning and Development Manager could prove to be pivotal for your employees’ progression. Last year, we made the decision to hire our very own Learning and Development Manager. Since making this change, he has had a huge impact on the progression of our employees across all levels of the business by using specialist methods and bespoke training to ensure all team members are on a clear development path. If hiring an Learning and Development Manager isn’t something you’ve considered before, perhaps now could be the time.


It’s been proven that sharing goals with an accountable individual such as a mentor increases the chances of achieving them by 70%. If investing in a specialist Learning and Development Manager isn’t feasible for your business, assigning mentors could provide you with an effective, low-cost alternative for developing your talent as well as keeping your most experienced performers engaged. Giving your senior team mentoring responsibilities means they’ll be able to support less experienced employees, providing hands-on guidance, knowledge and advice. Handing over the responsibility of training other employees is a great way of enhancing the development of staff across all levels of the business.

However you look at it, career development is really important. Investing in the progression of your talent is not only key to the happiness and wellbeing of your team, but the success of your business. For more advice on how to improve career development within your business, take a look at our Retention Report or check out our Retention Solutions blog.

Engineering, Information Technology