Workers Reveal Top Barriers to Career Progress in Latest Survey

In addition to picnics and parties, three-in-ten workers have thoughts of a better career on their minds this Labor Day weekend. In a survey of more than 1,600 workers completed in August 2004, asked respondents to evaluate their career progress to date and identify the top factors preventing them from reaching their career goals.

"Thirty percent of workers say they are dissatisfied with their career progress, which can, in turn, adversely impact overall job satisfaction," said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources for

"Forty-two percent of those who are dissatisfied with their career progress plan to leave their current positions, with 28 percent expecting to change jobs before the end of the year. These workers are ready to take advantage of improvements in the labor market this year to overcome career barriers and kick off their careers."

The top five career barriers cited by respondents include:

  1. Lack of Career Advancement Opportunities at Present Employer

    Twenty-seven percent of workers feel their current organizations do not offer much opportunity to move up the company ladder. One-in-four workers report they have been overlooked for a promotion this year.

  2. Lack of Appropriate Education, Training and Experience

    Eighteen percent of workers say they do not have the proper schooling andhands-on experience to reach career goals.

  3. Inadequate Direction from Supervisors

    Fifteen percent of workers say their supervisors do not provide effectivementoring and instruction to help them develop and improve.

  4. A Challenging Economy

    Ten percent of workers feel a challenging economy is to blame for closing some doors and making it difficult to advance career plans.

  5. Lack of Support from Present Employers

    Seven percent of workers say they don't have a solid support network at their organizations.

More than half of workers who are dissatisfied with their career progress are not enthusiastic about going to work each day and say they work under a great deal of stress. More than two-thirds of these workers are dissatisfied with pay and more than one-third are actively looking for a new job on a daily or weekly basis.

Haefner offers the following tips to help workers kick off their careers this Labor Day weekend:

  • First and foremost, turn off any internal alarms or uncertainties about transitions that might discourage you from following through on your career goals. Prepare a skills assessment of those areas in which you excel and recognize your strengths.
  • Determine what has kept you from moving forward in your career sooner. Whether it be additional training or educational requirements or other factors, write down each challenge to getting your perfect job. The quicker you name it, the quicker you can take control.
  • Then look at your list of challenges and blueprint a strategy for tackling each solution you have assigned. List in detail how you can accomplish each task and set steadfast deadlines.
  • Establish a career action plan. Identify which jobs represent the next step in your career path. Gain necessary experience through paid jobs or even volunteer activities.

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