Nearly 1 in 3 Americans say they would quit their current jobs without having another job lined up, but an astonishing 69% would consider staying in their current roles if their employer instituted key changes in the workplace, says the 2022 Career Optimism Index released by the University of Phoenix Career Institute .
The Index reveals a striking disconnect between employee realities and employer perceptions of workers’ needs, underscoring that in order to retain talent, employers must address core employee needs in several critical areas.
With 76% of employers concerned about retention and 90% prioritizing it, these gaps require employers’ immediate attention.
- Compensation: 86% of employers think their employees are satisfied with their compensation but, in reality, nearly half of employees are unsatisfied and 56% are living paycheck to paycheck
- Training: 89 % of employers say upskilling opportunities are provided frequently, in comparison to 61% of employees who say these opportunities are provided frequently
- Advocacy: 91% of employers believe their employees have someone in their professional life who advocates for them, but only 63% of employees agree
- Mental Health: 85% of employers say their employees have mental health resources available yet less than half of the workforce have taken advantage of resources available to manage work-related stress
- Job Security: 91% of employers believe their employees feel empowered in their job, but 52% of American workers see themselves as easily replaceable in their position and 41% worry about losing their job
In addition to these gaps, 40% of Americans say COVID-19 has taken their career off course.
But despite these challenges, 81% remain hopeful about the future of their careers, with 73% saying that hope is what got them through the past year.
By taking concrete steps to address these gaps, employers could begin to successfully transition away from the Great Resignation and into the Great Retention, helping to stabilize the American workforce, says the study.
“The second year of the pandemic has revealed American workers’ resiliency, grit and optimism against a multitude of challenges; however, it's clear employers are not providing the resources and investment necessary to retain and grow talent amid the Great Resignation. These results should be a call to action for employers as well as higher education institutions to drive meaningful transformation with an understanding of people’s needs and with tangible measures that address the barriers today’s workforce faces,” said University of Phoenix Provost John Woods.
Each year, the Career Institute calculates an Optimism Score considering the five pillars of career optimism: financial security, skill development, mental health/wellness, career trajectory, and job security.
The scoring scale ranges from 0 to 100, with 0 being the least optimistic and 100 most optimistic about careers. This year’s overall Career Optimism Score lands at 64 (from 65 last year), reflecting stability in levels of career optimism and strength in Mental Health/Wellness (80), Job Security (82) and Career Trajectory (80), despite significant challenges of Financial Security (54) and Skill Development (53).
For the second annual study, more than 5,000 U.S adults were surveyed about how they feel about their careers at this moment in time, including their concerns, their challenges, and the degree to which they are optimistic about core aspects of their careers, their advancement in the future.
The study was conducted among a diverse, nationally representative, sample of US adults among a robust sample to allow for gender, generational, racial, and socioeconomic differences and includes additional analysis of workers in the top twenty media markets across the country to uncover geographic nuances.
This year, the study also explored insights from 500 US employers who are influential or play a critical role in hiring and workplace decisions within a range of departments, company sizes and industries to provide comparison between the workforce and those who hire, train and retain them.