The 2022 Career Optimism Index™ of the University of Phoenix Career Institute revealed a significant gap between what employers think they offer and the realities experienced by their employees. Greater awareness of this gap between employer perception and employee reality can help business leaders understand what drives employees to seek work elsewhere or drop out of the workforce altogether.
Key Findings from the 2022 Career Optimism Index™
The Career Optimism Index™ study, first administered in 2021 by the University of Phoenix, is a survey of 5,000 American adults who are working or want to work across different demographic groups and 500 employers. Exploring employers’ insights is a key difference in this year’s index and provides a comparison of the workforce and those who hire, train and retain them. Researchers have found that there is a stark disconnect between the benefits, support services, and career development opportunities that employers believe they provide and the realities of employees in the workplace. This disconnect is the root of worker dissatisfaction and must be addressed if employers are to retain talent.
Consider compensation. Most employers, at 86%, think their employees are happy with their pay, but nearly half of employees are unhappy with their pay and 56% live paycheck to paycheck. When it comes to training, 89% of employers say they offer immediate opportunities for professional development, but only 61% of employees say they receive these regular opportunities.
Employers also largely believe their employees have on-site advocates at their work, but only 63% of employees report having this supportive mentor. And while 85% of employers say they offer mental health benefits, less than half of employees take advantage of these benefits to relieve work-related stress, anxiety and conflict. Finally, while a significant percentage of employers, at 91%, believe their employees feel empowered in the workplace, many workers fear being replaced and 41% of workers fear losing their jobs.
The Optimism Score uses five main pillars to measure the career optimism of American workers: financial security, skills development, mental health/wellness, career trajectory and job security. Survey participants rate each attribute on a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being the least optimistic and 100 being the most optimistic about careers.
The overall career optimism score for 2022 is 64, down one point from last year. Overall, there were a number of positive trends, including high scores for mental health/wellbeing (80), job security (82), and career trajectory (80). Workers were less optimistic about financial security (54) and skills development (53).
The big resignation
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, workers have left the workforce in record numbers, a phenomenon known as the Great Quit. Now American employers are struggling to fill more than 11 million open positions. Some of these workers were laid off during the first wave of the pandemic and are now waiting for the right opportunity to reinstate. They enter the workforce with new expectations such as fair compensation, flexible work options, opportunities for professional development, and potential for job growth, to name a few.
“The second year of the pandemic has revealed the resilience, courage and optimism of American workers in the face of a multitude of challenges,” said John Woods, provost of the University of Phoenix. “However, there is a distinct disconnect between employers and their employees that needs to be addressed in order to retain and develop talent amid the great resignation.”
How Employers Can Help Close the Gap and Retain Talent
Data from the Career Optimism Index™ study can serve as a guide for employers looking to identify areas where they need to provide more support and opportunity if they are to stay competitive and ensure their best employees stay and work. evolve in the company. Providing professional development opportunities is an area where employees want more resources, and employers can respond through an educational partnership with an online university like the University of Phoenix.
The University of Phoenix offers courses and certificate programs that can help accelerate employee skills, especially in high-tech areas such as IT, online marketing, data analytics, and management. Datas. A investigation from online recruitment company Ripplematch found the opportunity for professional development to be the most important career benefit for Gen Z workers, outranking topics such as job stability, work- personal life and upward mobility.
Using a sophisticated online learning platform called Workforce Solutions from the University of Phoenix, companies can provide their employees with skills development opportunities that will help fill existing skills gaps and give employees opportunities to grow and qualify for more opportunities. Through the program, the University works directly with businesses to help identify its critical skills gaps. Tuition fees and professional development opportunities are attractive recruitment tools for candidates, and companies can even work with the University of Phoenix to develop and directly hire its graduates. The Career Optimism Index™ study indicates that 68% of employees would keep their job if there were more development opportunities.
How the Career Institute helps identify pathways to career advancement
The University of Phoenix Career Institute is designed to identify existing barriers to workers’ career advancement goals and to partner with companies to remove those barriers. Through the 2022 Career Optimism Index™ study, the Career Institute uncovered a number of reasons why employers are not investing in upskilling and retraining programs. For 42%, the barrier is the time required to invest in employee training programs. The belief that there was no substantial employee interest in upskilling was a reason why 39% of employers did not invest in these programs. Of the employers surveyed, 38% had not identified skills gaps in their company, 35% had not budgeted money to invest in these programs, and 33% had not reached consensus on what to do. what these learning and development programs should look like. Finally, 29% of employers lacked education partners to support these efforts.
Take advantage of development opportunities
Woz U recognized the value that employee skills training could bring to fill the IT talent gap and produce a new generation of tech-skilled employees and created Woz Enterprise in an educational partnership with the University. of Phoenix. Through this unique program, community college graduates are enrolled in a bootcamp-like learning environment, gaining technical skills that prepare them for apprenticeship positions in STEM fields.
The training program gives students a head start on a four-year technical degree at the University of Phoenix and also prepares them for many roles as IT professionals, including industry certifications that correspond to the needs of the industry. “The market is becoming increasingly difficult for employers to find qualified talent”, says Nathan Jones, director of product development at the University of Phoenix. “We work together not only to develop employees, but also to make them useful throughout their careers. »
About the University of Phoenix
The University of Phoenix is committed to advancing the educational goals of adult and non-traditional learners and is highly regarded by its students for its career preparation, flexible learning options, and supportive learning environment. The University’s degree programs are aligned with many in-demand career paths, including computer software, nursing, and business, and they offer numerous start dates, online courses, and a variety of scholarship opportunities for anyone to pursue studies. diploma.
Additionally, the University of Phoenix’s Career Services for Life® commitment to active students and graduates provides the resources needed to compete in the job market at no additional cost. These services include resume and interview support, career counselling, education and networking opportunities. Many Recognized Student Organizations (RSOs) provide University of Phoenix students and alumni with lifelong relationships. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu.
This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or management of EconoTimes