American Society of Civil Engineers

Factors Affecting Professional Employee Retention

by Sherif S. Afifi, M.ASCE, (Manager, Envir. Services Dept, NTH Consultants, Ltd., 38955 Hills Tech Drive, Farmington Hills, MI 48331)

Journal of Management in Engineering, Vol. 7, No. 2, April 1991, pp. 187-202, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: A study is conducted to evaluate factors affecting retention of professional employees in firms practicing in civil geotechnical and environmental engineering. The study is based on a literature review and questionnaires completed by technical staff, senior managers, and human resources managers from sample firms across the United States. The study shows that the two most important variables influencing turnover are: (1) Opportunity and challenge; and (b) management attention to employees through feedback, interest in employee affairs, recognition of good work, delegation, and provision of opportunity to influence decisions and policies. Direct financial returns (salary and profit-sharing benefits), while important to employees, are of a lesser impact than the aforementioned two variables. The study also identifies other variables with lesser importance: working conditions, geographic location, performance review, bonuses, organizational structure clarification, insurance, stock options, and others. The study also shows that employees who come to the firm on their own initiative or through a reference by a fellow employee are likely to stay longer.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Personnel management