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Nick Jones

Blue Eskimo


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Why are so many learning professionals looking to jump ship? 


Now that the economy is back on track, more organisations than ever will be looking for new talent to drive growth. But the learning sector could have a major challenge on its hands with so many of its existing staff looking to move on to pastures new, putting it on the back foot for filling newly created roles or building whole new teams. 

Our 2015/2016 annual work and salary survey reveals that more than three quarters of the UK’s learning professionals wish to change jobs this year. This figure is at an all-time high, up from 67% in last year’s survey to 78% this year. If ‘finding a new job’ is one of your new year’s resolutions then clearly you are not alone. 

So why do so many learning professionals want to jump ship? And what do they really want from employers? 

Learning professionals are bored 

For almost a third (31%) of respondents to a Blue Eskimo survey*, finding a more interesting role is the number one motivation for wanting to change jobs this year. Better pay (23%) and career prospects (16%) were also important. This is not surprising when you consider that a staggering 44% of learning professionals do not feel stretched or challenged in their current role, up from 37% in our previous annual study. 

While it’s heartening to see pay coming second to job satisfaction, employers need to take heed that people are becoming more dissatisfied with the size of their monthly pay packets. Around half of learning professionals did not receive a pay rise in 2015 (many for the second year running) while almost the same number (46%) feel their pay is lower than the industry average (up from 38% in the previous year’s study). 

But it’s not all doom and gloom for learning professionals. Plenty of interesting career opportunities exist, the job market is buoyant, and we are certainly busier than ever. 

More people received variable benefits such as bonuses, share options and car allowances in the last 12 months than in the previous year. Also, contractor assignments and rates are both on the up with 37% of contractors now earning over £400 per day compared to 31% the year before. And let’s not forget that the learning industry as a whole remains a well-paid industry with 68% of respondents earning above £30,000 compared with the UK national average wage of £26,411 (source Monster). 

Times they are a-changing 

It’s apparent that those employees who sat tight during hard times are feeling more confident than ever to make the leap to new pastures. It’s a seller’s market for L&D skills with employees firmly in the driving seat now that economic woes are in the rear-view mirror. 

Even though more people are looking for jobs, great talent still remains scarce. Employers need to make sure that they are doing enough to attract and retain the best. While competitive pay and benefits packages are important, what people want more than anything is an exciting role where they feel challenged and stretched. 

The survey shows that elearning and in-house L&D roles are the most popular destinations for those looking to make their next career move, while IT training is the least attractive destination. Nearly a third said they wanted to work in elearning and a quarter within an L&D department. Employees see these areas as where the most interesting and challenging roles are, and the most likely cause of this is the opportunity to get involved with the adoption of new technologies for learning.

So what does all of this mean for employees and employers alike? 

If you’re looking for a new job then take your time to find the right opportunity that fits your career plans best. Weigh up the salary and benefits package with training and career prospects, bearing in mind that you might have to take a pay cut to change to your ideal role. Over a quarter (28%) of our survey respondents said they had to take a drop in salary to get their current job.  

As competition for talent intensifies, employers need to think more creatively about how they attract and retain talent if they want to grow. Having a winning employee proposition, investing in superior training and development programmes, succession planning and providing clear career progression opportunities are all more important than ever. The best people are worth fighting for and sometimes this will mean stretching the limits of talent management to be competitive.   

Finding the best candidate for a role can be challenging, but getting it right is in everybody’s best interest. The consequences of a mismatch can be devastating with the cost of making a mistake exceeding £30k per hire for employers, not to mention the frustration for anybody finding themselves in the wrong job. Trusted recruitment partners with specialist knowledge of the marketplace can play a key role in finding the perfect fit.  

Nick Jones is Director at Blue Eskimo. Blue Eskimo is the UK’s leading specialist recruitment consultancy for the learning industry. For further information and current job opportunities in the learning industry or follow Blue Eskimo on LinkedIn. *The full research findings from Blue Eskimo’s annual benchmark salary and work survey are available here

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Nick Jones


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