Stop Losing Your Comms Talent: This is All You Need to Know

Stop Losing Your Comms Talent This is All You Need to Know
Posted: Jan 2019

When people leave a job, it’s most often because they want more money, a new challenge and no longer enjoy the work they are doing. Very standard reasons, and ones we’ve certainly heard many times. However, our latest Annual Salary Guide tells a different story.

We asked corporate communications and financial communications professionals (in-house and agency) what the five deciding factors were when leaving a job, and the results weren’t all as predictable as we might have expected.

According to our survey, the real reasons corporate communications and financial communications professionals leave their jobs are as follows:

1. Unclear career path

2. Not happy with remuneration package

3. Feeling stale and unchallenged

4. Poor company culture

5. Lack of promotion prospects

When we separated the responses into in-house and agency, the top 3 reasons for agency communications professionals leaving their jobs were:

1. Unclear career path

2. Feeling stale and unchallenged

3. Not happy with remuneration package

The top 3 reasons for in-house communications professionals leaving their jobs were:

1. Unclear career path

2. Poor company culture

3. Company doesn’t value comms

It’s quite obviously all about the career path!

Employee turnover is expensive. While it’s tempting to dismiss turnover as a fact of life in today’s fast-moving job market, many of the reasons employees jump ship are surprisingly simple, and business leaders who don’t ask why their employees want to go may be unnecessarily losing people who are pricey to replace.

If employees don’t see a clear progression from their current role to a better position in their company, they will ultimately turn to opportunities elsewhere. Surely this suggests an easy solution. By providing clear paths for employees, and moving them through job titles on a regular progression over time, employers can help boost perceived career opportunities and limit potentially harmful stagnation.

My experience in executive search has shown that every Director in a corporate communications agency I partner with is a little different. Clients differ, responsibilities differ, expectations differ with regards to new business, margins differ… the list is endless. However, one thing applies across the board when it comes to keeping professionals happy and engaged at every level. Agreeing expectations upfront and establishing absolute clarity in all areas of responsibility, which are regularly reviewed, plus specific time frames around promotions dependent on achievement can take away the grey and make it black and white.

Get to know what makes your employees tick

In the first week on the job, ask new members of the team about their favourite projects they’ve done, the moments when they’ve felt most energised at work, the times when they’ve found themselves totally immersed in a state of flow, and the passions they have outside their jobs. Armed with that knowledge, it’s a lot easier to build engaging roles from the start, and give your people a crystal clear career path.

Create roles that align with your employees and their strengths

If you want to keep your people – especially your stars – paying more attention to how you design their work will pay off in the long run. Most companies design jobs and then slot people into them. A savvy Director takes time to customise experiences for employees, enabling them to do work they enjoy, play to their strengths, and carve a path for career development that accommodates personal priorities.

We cannot stress the extent to which Directors can play a major role in designing motivating, meaningful jobs. The best will go out of their way to help employees do work they enjoy, even if it means rotating them out of roles where they’re excelling.

By setting out a crystal clear career path that offers opportunities for ongoing personal development and learning, and staying in touch with what your employees value most in their jobs, as well as cultivating a healthy workplace culture, you will go a long way towards encouraging employees to stay and grow under your roof, and not one of a different organisation.

The Works Search is a search consultancy specialising in PR and corporate communications. We have unrivalled matching abilities and known for finding the top 5% performers in the industry - the ones who deliver and make your reputation great. For more advice or market insights, do get in touch with us on 0207 903 9291 or email

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