1 in 5 Americans Unhappy With Professional Life, Especially Millennials

Nearly a quarter of Americans are unhappy with their professional life (22%). According to a new survey of 2,000 Americans, when comparing themselves to others, 37 percent feel behind on their professional goals – especially millennials (51%).

This may be why people are looking to strengthen their resumes in the coming year (56%).

Commissioned by CSU Global and conducted by OnePoll, the survey found that half of Americans are tired of setting the same New Year’s resolutions (49%) and are interested in pursuing a professional resolution next year like finding a new job, returning to school, or getting a promotion (50%).

In the past year, respondents have improved their work/life balance (25%), updated their resume (22%), and grew their skillset (21%).

For next year, millennials are especially determined to set professional resolutions (72%), with improving their work/life balance (34%) and making new connections (33%) their top priorities in the new year. Gen Z respondents are most focused on growing their skillset and furthering their education (29%, each).

“With a changing workforce, we may see more people looking to set goals next year to advance their professional lives, whether that is continuing their education, earning a promotion, or pivoting career paths,” says Pamela Toney, president of CSU Global, in a statement. “Intentionally framing goals on your career aspirations in the new year may prove to be more approachable and fulfilling and provide lasting effects long after the year is complete. Education is a great way to open doors to new career and promotional opportunities.”

Going after your professional goals in 2023

Employed respondents are also looking ahead, with the average person looking for a 32-percent increase in their salary in the next year.

When reflecting on their current job, a fifth of employed survey-takers say learning the skill set for their current job was difficult, with baby boomers having the hardest time adjusting (26%). In fact, a third of respondents believe learning the skill set of their job today would be – or already is – harder than it was when they first started (34%), and one in eight admit they’re not sure they’d get hired at their company today.

A quarter of respondents believe it would be difficult for them to learn a new “hard” skill today (technical skills you need to complete specific tasks), which may contribute to why 41 percent are determined to further their education in the new year through a new degree or certificate.

Overall, people think finding ways to stay motivated (49%), maintaining a positive mindset (48%), and holding themselves accountable (41%) would help them stick to their goals.

“Try writing down your goals and milestones throughout the year or consider setting resolutions with a friend to hold each other accountable. No matter your preferred method for staying motivated, it is important to celebrate the small steps along the way to the larger journey,” Toney says.

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 nationally representative Americans was commissioned by CSU Global between October 14 and October 20, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).


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