Organizations were truly shaken up and altered by the last recession. In the past, the so-called lessons learned were quickly forgotten as companies lost focus on efficiencies and fell back into bad habits. So far, overall, that is not happening this time around.

One clear sign of this: a study of some 12,000 employees that found that their No. 1 complaint about their employers, the No. 1 reason they look for a new job, is stifled career advancement. Author of the study CEB says this is a direct result of the flattening of organizations. Most have permanently trimmed layers of management and certain employee categories, leading to a much longer time between promotions — as much as three years longer than was the average in 2010, CEB found.

So it wasn't surprising that 70 percent of respondents reported that they were dissatisfied with their internal career opportunities. While this cautious approach to staffing by companies may be good in theory, CEB warns that trouble is a-brewing in the form of massive turnover as employee frustration explodes. And turnover is not cheap.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.