One year since the first COVID-19 lockdowns hit the United States, the University of Phoenix Career Institute has released the results of its first annual Career Optimism Index™. The in-depth study quantifies current attitudes of working American’s regarding their careers with the aim of identifying barriers and obstacles. Using this information, the University highlights potential solutions to help Americans boost their careers in 2021.
The results of the first Career Optimism Index revealed that while most Americans are generally optimistic about the future, a large proportion of people are worried about losing their jobs due to the economy.
Forty-Four Percent of Employed Americans Worry About Job Loss
The pandemic drastically impacted the United States and global economies. As such, 44 percent of employed Americans are now worried about the prospect of losing their jobs due to economic turbulence.
Forty-six percent of women are worried about losing their jobs, while 48 percent of Black, Latinx and Asian individuals share this concern. Moreover, since the younger generation tends to work in lower-ranking and service-related fields, the chances of their roles disappearing could be higher than other demographics. The study revealed that 56 percent of Gen Z workers harbored a fear of losing their current job as a result of changes in the economy.
Low Self-Confidence Is a Potential Career Barrier
As part of the Career Optimism Index, researchers asked respondents to identify barriers to their careers. While the economy certainly played a role in the issue, many participants also pointed to emotional and structural problems. Twenty-five percent of American workers highlighted low self-confidence as a barrier in career progression.
Additionally, 25 percent of workers said that fear of change was a barrier, while 24 percent said not having enough education could hold them back in the workplace. Researchers stated that workers need “additional support and resources to translate their optimism into future career outcomes.” Put simply, the onus is on employers to offer their staff opportunities to further their skill set through ongoing educational activities and initiatives.
Workers Are Concerned About Automation
As the technological world catapults forward, the chances that jobs can become outdated soars. According to the Career Optimism Index, one in five workers says that their job has already become automated due to the impacts of the pandemic. What’s more, 42 percent of Americans are worried that their job skills will no longer be relevant as a result of technological advancements in the future.
Allowing workers to expand their skill sets and expertise could combat this problem. Armed with additional workplace training, professionals will have the chance to expand their range when it comes to the workplace. That means that they will be in a better position should technological advancements make some of their skills obsolete.
Seventy Percent of Workers Ready for a Job Search
Despite highlighting the potential barriers, the Career Optimism Index suggests that American workers are resilient. Seventy percent of respondents said that they felt prepared to search for a new job if they need to in the future. It doesn’t end there. Around 80 percent of the respondents said that they are highly employable. The results of the study show that people are generally optimistic about their future careers and prospects.
The last year has presented American workers with a whole host of new obstacles including adapting to remote work and facing economic downturn. Despite these challenges, the latest information suggests that most people are resilient. While we can’t tell what the future holds for workers across the country, these results suggest that professionals are ready to take on whatever comes their way.
About University of Phoenix
John Sperling, PhD, founded University of Phoenix in 1976 to provide adults with the higher education that they needed throughout their professional lives. The economist, professor and entrepreneur saw a gap in the market and the modern workplace.
Underpinned by 45 years of experience, the University focuses on the current needs of adult learners. The University of Phoenix offers higher education opportunities to help students foster their knowledge and skills while propelling them toward their professional goals. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, each course helps individuals boost their leadership skills while serving their communities.
University of Phoenix offers flexible schedules, online learning and a variety of courses. No matter what your aspirations or career goals are, finding the correct course for your professional needs is simple. The University serves a diverse student population, offering programs in locations across the United States as well as online.
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