Korn Ferry study shows professionals are moving but at a price.

Career Nomads arrive.

A new study by Korn Ferry has studied the increasing trend towards ‘Career Nomads’ – high performing, talented professionals who are switching jobs, organisations and careers at a faster rate than others. The study found that 88 per cent of professionals believe that frequent job switches have had a positive impact on their careers, although statistics show that the cost for companies to replace these Nomads is between 50 per cent to 75 per cent of their annual salary. Despite the cost study also shows that more than half of organisations, especially larger Fortune 500 companies with greater revenue per employee, enjoy net benefits from the value these short-tenured employees bring.

When asked in the study about the top goals Career Nomads have when taking a new job, respondents stated: leveraging their skills in better context, aligning with organisational purpose and finding appreciation and recognition.

Korn Ferry research points to certain characteristics that help predict if an employee will seek out new roles and challenges. People with high levels of intellectual curiosity are, on average, 2.2 times more likely to be Career Nomads and those who have have a tolerance for ambiguity are, on average, 2.5 times more likely to fall into that category.

“Our study indicates the reasons people seek new challenges elsewhere are the same reasons companies want them to stay,” said Jean-Marc Laouchez, president, Korn Ferry Institute. “Career Nomads are intellectually curious. They have a tolerance for ambiguity. They are willing to take risks that can help them excel and provide value for their employer.” 

In the light of these findings, The Korn Ferry study highlights the top five talent management practices (in order) that can reduce cost and increase the net benefit of retaining Career Nomads:

1.     Offering compelling career development opportunities

2.     Supporting work-life balance

3.     Improving leader effectiveness

4.     Enhancing employee well being

5.     Restrategising rewards and benefits

 “While there’s no fighting the Career Nomad trend, business leaders can look for ways to extend job tenure, especially for high potentials who make the most impact on a company,” said Laouchez. “This group needs to be identified much earlier than in the past—then nurtured, mentored, developed and rewarded.”

Korn Ferry has developed a Career Nomad Calculator, which estimates the potential net costs and benefits of hiring nomads based on a company’s industry, workforce size, and annual revenue.

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