Bridging the Advancement Gap
What frontline employees want versus what employers think they want
Millions of Americans are employed as retail store associates, nursing aides, customer service representatives, administrative assistants, housekeeping staff and many similar jobs. These frontline employees are ambitious and eager to climb the career ladder.
In our survey of more than 2,100 frontline employees, we found that more than 70 percent have applied to career advancement opportunities either with their current employers or with different companies. However, many often struggle to overcome the barriers to professional growth.
Among these barriers is a stark disconnect between what frontline employees want and what employers think they want. We define frontline employees as hourly workers, primarily individual contributors, making less than $22 per hour across select industries. Many frontline employees aren’t getting the right resources or support to advance their careers. By addressing what matters to their frontline workforce, employers can harness the untapped potential of a large and motivated talent pool—an urgent priority amid labor shortages and challenges in attracting and retaining talent. And when employers do more and do better to support the advancement of frontline employees, they create opportunities for their employees to meaningfully improve their lives and livelihoods.
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