Older workers show highest levels of company loyalty

In 2007, as part of an international project, the RAIT market research and analysis group examined employee loyalty in Lithuanian companies. The research found that 61% of respondents were committed neither to their employer nor to their work, while only 19% were committed to both. Job satisfaction and work motivation tended to vary with age and the low level of commitment among young workers can be linked with the start of their professional career.

Survey methodology

In 2007, Factum Group – a partnership of central and eastern European market research agencies – conducted international research into workers’ attitudes, loyalty to their employer and job satisfaction in seven countries, including Lithuania. In Lithuania, the study was carried out by the Market Research and Analysis Group RAIT (Rinkos analizės ir tyrimų grupė RAIT, RAIT). The research, which took place between March and May 2007, aimed to identify workers’ attitudes towards work and assess their loyalty to their employer. It involved an interview-based survey of 414 employees in different companies throughout Lithuania.

Factum Group used its own employee survey research tool, known as ‘Human Resources Analysis’, which groups workers into four basic categories in terms of their commitment to the company where they work and the job that they do. The worker categories include:

  • ‘leaders’, who are involved in and committed to both their job and their company. They represent ‘the most valuable company asset’;
  • ‘careerists’, who are dedicated to their job, but uncommitted to the company. They mainly care about their own career and personal achievements, and are thus open to competitive offers from other potential employers;
  • ‘loyalists’, who are loyal to their company in the long term. However, they show less enthusiasm and dedication in relation to their job tasks, which can reduce their work efficiency;
  • ‘passengers’, who lack commitment to both their job and their employer. These people often provoke disagreements among colleagues and may act against the company’s interests at critical moments.

Survey findings

The research found that 61% of Lithuanian workers surveyed were ‘passengers’ and only 19% were ‘leaders’. ‘Careerists’ accounted for 14% and ‘loyalists’ for 6%.

Gender differences

As indicated in Figure 1 below, in Lithuania, employees who fell under the ‘leader’ category were more often men (21%) than women (17%), while gender differences among ‘passengers’ were insignificant (61% of men compared with 60% of women). Somewhat more women (16%) than men (13%) were found to be devoted to their jobs, but not to the company (‘careerists’). Women also accounted for more of those committed to the company, but not devoted to the job (‘loyalists’): 7% of women compared with 5% of men.

Assessment of employee loyalty, by sex (%)

Assessment of employee loyalty, by sex (%)

Source: RAIT, 2007

Assessment of employee loyalty, by sex (%)

Effects of age on levels of loyalty

In addition, the research found that job satisfaction and work motivation tended to vary according to age – see Figure 2 below. In Lithuania, the proportion of committed employees (‘leaders’) was equal, at 24%, in the 25–34 and the 45–54 age groups. The proportion of ‘passengers’ in these age groups was also the same (56%). The highest proportion of ‘passengers’, 68%, was found among employees aged 35–44 years.

Assessment of employee loyalty, by age (%)

Assessment of employee loyalty, by age (%)

Source: RAIT, 2007

Assessment of employee loyalty, by age (%)

The highest proportion of ‘leaders’, showing loyalty to both their job and their company, was found among those aged 55 years and over (31%). It is suggested that this trend might be explained by the social characteristics of this age group: workers in this age bracket often do not have very high career ambitions, but consider financial stability and social guarantees as the most important factors.

Conversely, the lowest proportion of ‘leaders’ was found among employees aged under 24 years of age (9%) and those aged 35–44 years (12%). However, the youngest age group (those aged under 24 years) accounted for the highest proportion of ‘careerists’ (18%). A low level of commitment to the company and job could be explained by the fact that these young workers are often at the start of their professional career. Previous RAIT research has found that workers’ job satisfaction and work motivation are at their lowest during the first years of employment. If a worker finds his or her place in the company, commitment starts to increase before declining again after a period of six to 10 years of work.

Rasa Zabarauskaite, Institute of Labour and Social Research

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