Original Research

Factors affecting the retention of millennial academics

Rudo R. Marozva, Emmerentia N. Barkhuizen, Masase E. Mageza-Mokhethi
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 22 | a2301 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v22i0.2301 | © 2024 Rudo R. Marozva, Emmerentia N. Barkhuizen, Masase E. Mageza-Mokhethi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 April 2023 | Published: 20 March 2024

About the author(s)

Rudo R. Marozva, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Emmerentia N. Barkhuizen, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa; and Centre for Work Performance, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Masase E. Mageza-Mokhethi, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Orientation: South African higher education institutions (HEIs) face significant challenges in attracting and retaining younger-generation academics. This results in a critical shortage of a talented pool of scholars required for succession and the sustainability of HEIs over the longer term.

Research purpose: This study aimed to explore the factors affecting the retention of millennial academics in South Africa.

Motivation for the study: The retention of millennial academics is essential to the success of HEIs. Research on the factors affecting the retention of this cohort of academics is scarce despite their growing importance in sustainable HEI practice.

Research approach/design and method: The study adopted a cross-sectional qualitative research approach using semi-structured interviews to collect the data. The sample included 14 millennial academics representing various public HEIs in South Africa. Thematic analyses were applied to analyse the data.

Main findings: The findings showed that five factors should be considered to retain millennial academics: career and growth opportunities, work environment, rewards, leadership and work–life balance.

Practical/managerial implications: The study concluded that an integrated talent retention strategy should be developed that, at a minimum include opportunities for career development, employee growth, healthy employee–employer relationships, employee support and market-related compensation to retain millennial academics.

Contribution/value-add: This research contributes to the limited knowledge of the factors affecting the retention of millennial academics.


Keywords

academics; higher education institutions; millennials; retention strategies; turnover intentions

JEL Codes

J24: Human Capital • Skills • Occupational Choice • Labor Productivity

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth

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