Expert says education still holds the key to advancing career goals
Employed Americans cite a weak economy, corporate cuts, cheap labor and the lack of a college degree as some of the most common deterrents to their personal job growth in the next five years, according to results released today in the 2016 Labor Day Job Growth Survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of University of Massachusetts Global.
The survey, conducted online among 1,064 adults working full time/part time, found that two in five (41%) feel that over the next five years, a weak economy will negatively affect their opportunities for job growth. The survey also found that about a quarter of employed Americans believe that corporate budget cuts (25%) and corporate restructuring/downsizing (23%), followed by cheap labor (19%) and their lack of a college degree (16%) will hurt their prospects for career advancement over the next five years.
Just Breathe … and Be Prepared
“Obviously, we as Americans have no direct control over the economy – so we deal with it by worrying about it and how it affects our lives,” says Dr. Kathleen Bates, associate professor of human resources and organizational leadership at University of Massachusetts Global. “The key to alleviating angst and positioning yourself for job advancement is to put yourself in the best possible position to meet your current employer’s goals while staging yourself for career growth within or beyond your current organization. In other words, show initiative. Set goals. Ask for feedback from your supervisor. Take classes to sharpen your skills. Finish up that college degree. Prepare yourself for YOUR future.”
In fact, about one in five employed males (17%) and females (21%), both groups aged 18-34, acknowledged that their lack of a college degree was a deterrent to their job or career advancement in the next five years. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that for July 2016, 10% of all Americans are unemployed or underemployed, and employers are telling educators that a significant skills gap is widening because academia is not keeping pace with workplace demands,” Bates explains. “One option for those who may find themselves “underemployed” or “stuck” in the working world is competency-based education. It’s an accessible, affordable and effective way for adult students – often supporting families, aging parents and significant financial responsibilities – to utilize their real-world knowledge to quickly complete their degree and ultimately achieve career advancement.”
In fact, University of Massachusetts Global recently added competency-based education (CBE) programs to its list of bachelor degrees offerings with the addition of MyPath. Because of the workplace skill gap, competency-based education or learning is on the rise. UMass Global’s program has degrees that will give valuable skills for the workplace. This online degree option offers the flexibility that working adults are looking for when returning to school. Bates adds, “Traditional education is no longer the only college option. Today there are affordable, accessible options out there for working adults – like MyPath.”
“The entire world is in the throes of marketplace changes that impact how we prepare our careers and life goals,” remarked Bates. “Be ready for continuous learning throughout your career – indeed, your life! At UMass Global, we want to be your lifelong learning partner.”
Education is the Key
For those employed Americans who believe that corporate budget cuts and corporate restructuring will limit their job growth potential over the next five years, Bates offers this sage advice, “Budget cuts and restructurings are fundamental parts of business – and always will be. Again, focus on what you can control … you! The fact is education is the single most important investment you can make. The better you can prepare yourself for challenges of your career – the better positioned you will be to reap the rewards.”
By the Numbers: 2016 Labor Day Job Growth Survey Fast Facts
- 41% of employed Americans believe that over the next five years a weak economy will negatively affect their opportunity for job growth.
- About one in five employed males (17%) and females (21%) aged 18-34 cite their lack of a college degree as a deterrent to their future job growth in the next five years.
- About a quarter of Americans feel that corporate budget cuts/corporate restructuring will limit their job growth potential over the next five years.
- 22% of employed women aged 18-34 consider their chances for growth in the next five years as limited by a glass ceiling (a barrier to advancement especially affecting women and minorities).
About the Survey
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of University of Massachusetts Global from August 26-30, 2016, among 1,064 adults ages 18 and older who are employed full or part time. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
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