Forty-Three Percent of American Workers Want to Expand Their Skill Set, According to University of Phoenix Career Optimism Index™

Forty-Three Percent of American Workers Want to Expand Their Skill Set, According to University of Phoenix Career Optimism Index™ 1

The last year has been a challenge for professionals across America. The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have changed the working world in ways few could have imagined. Many people found themselves adapting to remote work overnight. What’s more, the ongoing crisis has impacted the economy astronomically, meaning that many workers now fear for the future of their jobs and livelihoods.

To fully understand the current mindset of American professionals, University of Phoenix conducted its first annual Career Optimism Index™. The in-depth study looked at a cross section of workers to measure current attitudes toward their careers and prospects while also identifying any potential barriers. Additionally, researchers highlighted possible solutions to some of the most timely challenges faced by modern-day workers.

As part of the comprehensive survey, researchers spoke to more than 5,000 adults in the United States. The questions covered topics from how respondents felt about their careers at the moment to any concerns or challenges they were facing.

American Workers Want to Expand Their Skills

With economic downturn in the cards, many workers are looking to upskill. The Index revealed that 43 percent of American workers want to expand their skill set but don’t know where to begin. To add to that, 42 percent of respondents said that they don’t see a clear path forward to advance their careers.

Researchers from University of Phoenix suggested that these workers need additional support and resources to help them combat this challenge. While many leading companies already offer opportunities for staff members to accelerate their learning, the results of the study suggest a gap that employers can fill. Giving team members the chance to expand their expertise and skill set benefits both workers and the business.

More Than Half of Workers Need a Mentor

Aside from a need for additional education opportunities, the Index highlighted a demand for mentorship. Fifty-four percent of the respondents said that they needed help looking for a mentor or advocate in the workplace. A lack of networking opportunities was also a pertinent issue, with 55 percent needing help with connecting with others in their current or desired field. Lastly, 52 percent needed help with seeking out training programs to advance their career prospects.

The data from the study shows that American workers have a desire to propel their professional lives forward. When faced with the multitude of challenges presented by the pandemic, workers are set on advancing both their skill sets and their careers. For that reason, employers and hiring managers around the country have an obligation to offer additional support and advice in these areas.

Around 80 Percent of Workers Are Adaptable

With the career landscape continually changing, an ability to adapt to new roles and enhance skills will always be crucial. Around 80 percent of American workers believe that they are highly employable and adapt easily to new work situations, according to the University of Phoenix Career Optimism Index. Seven out of ten respondents in the survey said that they feel prepared to search for a job right now should they need to do so.

Despite these positive results, the report revealed challenges that stand in the way. One in four respondents said that they are stressed about their careers. These rates were higher among women, with 29 percent of respondents saying they were stressed, and Gen Z individuals, with 30 percent saying they were stressed. Perhaps even more concerning, 44 percent of people said that they were worried about losing their job.

The Takeaway

University of Phoenix’s first annual Career Optimism Index provides a snapshot of worker  attitudes toward their careers. The results show that while many people are optimistic about their general prospects, they harbor specific concerns relating to their careers. In particular, the comprehensive study highlights a demand for additional in-house and external training to help workers enhance their skills and remain employable.

About University of Phoenix

John Sperling, PhD, founded University of Phoenix in 1976. The Cambridge-educated economist, professor and entrepreneur noted a need for change within the modern workplace. In establishing the University, he aimed to provide adults with higher education to enhance their professional lives.

University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and the University offers higher education opportunities to help students foster their knowledge and skills while propelling them toward their professional goals. Additionally, University of Phoenix provides courses that allow individuals to increase their leadership skills while serving their communities.

Supported by 45 years of experience, University of Phoenix offers flexible schedules, online learning and a variety of courses. Whatever your goals or career aspirations, finding the correct course for your professional needs is straightforward. Serving a diverse student population while offering programs both across the United States and online, the University is a flexible and accessible option for all.

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