Newton, Mass. — Turns out it’s not all about the money — at least when it comes to what drives professionals in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry to change employers. According to a new survey conducted by Morrissey Goodale LLC, a management consulting and research firm to the AEC industry, nearly a quarter (24 percent) of AEC firm leaders reported that a poor relationship with the boss was the primary reason why their latest key hires left their previous firms, tops of all responses.

Close behind as the primary motivating factor that spurred new hires to leave their previous jobs was a lack of advancement opportunities, which was cited by 21 percent of respondents, followed by work-life balance, reported by 16 percent of respondents. Only 11 percent of AEC firm leaders said that compensation and benefits was the primary reason why their latest key hire left his or her previous firm.

“Of course, AEC firms need to be extremely competitive in their compensation and benefits packages to attract new employees,” says Morrissey Goodale Executive Search Director Alissa Buckley, “but the survey suggests that it’s even more critical for firms to showcase their key selling points and emphasize the quality of their managers, opportunities for career advancement, and commitment to work-life balance when recruiting candidates.

“On the flip side, firms that are losing key staff can’t simply throw money at the problem,” Buckley says. “Take a close look at your key managers and the career paths you provide for employees. They may be the roots of your troubles.”

The survey results will be published in Morrissey Goodale’s next A/E Recruiting Flash, a bimonthly bulletin reporting on the hiring and retention of architecture and engineering professionals.