How Loyal are Senior Living Leaders to the Senior Living Industry?

Welcome back to Part 2 of the Senior Living Leadership Survey results. As mentioned previously, we have teamed up with the Senior Housing Forum to survey the senior living industry to gather comprehensive insights about administrators, employees and other stakeholder perceptions of the senior living industry. One of our intentions when conducting the Senior Living Leader Survey was to get insight on job loyalty and satisfaction.

In the second part of the survey results, we wanted to investigate more closely how committed senior living leaders are to the senior living industry. From our analysis and interpretation of the results, here’s what we learned:

Most senior living executives will stay for the long-term – More than 50% of the survey’s respondents were senior living executives. We asked them if they plan to work in the senior living industry for the rest of their careers. About 91% of the executives said they either “agree” or “strongly agree.”

We also asked the respondents what would motivate them to leave the senior living industry. About 42% of the respondents answered with the option of, “I would never leave,” which means about 58% of the senior living executives could be motivated to leave the industry.

But what would motivate the 58% to leave the industry? We found the two biggest factors that could influence an executive to leave the senior living industry were “better pay and benefits” and “more interesting work.” Better pay and benefits comprised 22% of the replies while more interesting work got 29% of the replies. Based on the results, there’s a mixed bag of executives who are loyal to the industry while some may be swayed away by larger benefit packages or work interest.

Most staff may not stay for the long-term – We derived from the survey results that only 28% of community staff, which consists of facility administrators, department heads and other workers would never leave. This means that senior living leaders are more content with their jobs compared to community level staff. So we asked ourselves these two questions: “Why is there a big discrepancy between the job loyalty of the executives and staff?” and “Do salaries, job morale, satisfaction, or burnout influence the discrepancy in job loyalty?”

To answer those questions, we asked the opinion of Dr. Bret Miller, our Director of Research. Dr. Miller said, “Recent research postulates that employees in administrative positions tend to have a longer tenured viewpoint with their current role, as opposed to line level staff. In other words, those in administrative roles view their jobs as careers rather than short-term or transitional jobs.”

Commitment of senior living leaders – 91% of the senior living leaders stated they would remain in their jobs until retirement, while 58% of those leaders could be motivated to leave the industry by better pay and benefits, and by more interesting work, we interpret this in terms of a “good-news – bad news” angle. We believe that senior living leaders are committed to stay in the industry, but many are not quite as committed as we want them to be. To further explain about the “good-news – bad news” angle, we asked the opinion of Senior Housing Forum’s publisher, Steve Moran.

Mr. Moran said, “Being a senior living executive is hard work. Because it is a 24/7 business, no leader is ever really off the clock. It also can be one of the most satisfying jobs in the world. These leaders have the ability to impact the lives of seniors and their families and to improve the lives of some of the most compassionate, hard-working team members anywhere.”

Mr. Moran added that if a senior living company will appreciate the leaders for all the good things they’re doing in a senior living community, then he believes that more leaders will be committed to stay in a community for the remainder of their careers.

It boils down to the people in the industry – To summarize Part 2 of the survey’s results, we deduce that people in the senior living industry do not work and stay there for the long haul unless they really like the work they do. We recommend that senior living leaders, who are the most satisfied in the workforce level in the industry, should be given opportunities to grow professionally. We believe that giving the leaders the opportunity to grow may stabilize the high turnover rate in the industry and transform the leadership in senior living communities.