When it comes to career advancement, many leaders aren’t expecting much help from their bosses, and anticipate even less from their employers. But location and company size can affect perceptions here, an exclusive McKnight’s survey and related research has found.

Nearly 2 in 5 respondents said career-advancement opportunities in their companies were less than good. From most optimistic to least, the breakdown for all respondents was 20.5% rated opportunities as “excellent,” 39.5% at “good,” 27.7% at “fair” and 12.2% “poor.”

Most notably, 46.3% of nurse leaders considered opportunities “excellent” while only 17.7% of administrators agreed.

These findings come courtesy of the 2019 McKnight’s Mood of the Market Survey. Responses were gathered from more than 250 administrator and nurse leaders who responded to digital inquiries in April.

On a related question, more than one-fourth (25.7%) of respondents said they trusted their supervisors “just a little” or “none at all” when it comes to presenting opportunities to advance.

The breakdown was starkest among nurse leaders, with 13.8% selecting in both  “just a little” and “none at all.” Administrators, meanwhile, had 10% say “little” and 13.8% “none at all.”

On the top end of the scale, 42% of administrators and 44% of nurse leaders said they trusted their supervisor “a lot” to help them advance.

Experts acknowledged that results likely varied based on the size of each respondent’s organization and its degree of geographic isolation. (The survey, which involved providers from around the country, did not ask for employer size or location.)

“When we work with a CCRC in New Hampshire, for example, and [an employee] said they wanted to stay within the industry but not stay where they were, they would have had to move a long ways a way. There aren’t always a lot of takers,” noted Matt Leach, a senior consultant with Total Compensation Solutions, a human resources and salary consultancy based in Armonk, NY. “That’s as opposed to if someone works at one of these multi-facility organizations where there might be plenty of room to advance to a bigger facility. It doesn’t surprise me that these results are across the board.”

A top consultant and former long-time human resources director of a major nursing home chain said it might be tempting to blame supervisors for not doing enough but recommended caution.

“If I was doing this survey within a company and had 25 percent saying their direct supervisor is not doing enough, I would say they need to do a better job of educating those supervisors,” observed Mark Heston, president of Heston and Associates. But, he acknowledged, differences in respondents’ company size and setting prevent blanket criticism.

Heston joined Leach in pointing out that individual facilities’ composition will often dictate whether opportunities will exist.

“Think about if you’re a DON and you don’t want to be an administrator, you could be topped out,” Heston noted. “Or if you’re an administrator and you don’t want to be an executive director, you’re topped out.”

Mood of the Market Survey results are being released throughout the week by McKnight’s. On Monday, providers’ desire to change jobs despite performing mostly meaningful work was highlighted. On Tuesday, compensation and job satisfaction levels were parsed.

See continuing coverage of the 2019 McKnight’s LTC Mood of the Market survey this week in editions of McKnight’s Daily Update.