Survey: Majority of US workers are optimistic and taking steps to increase job opportunities

Amid high unemployment and economic uncertainty, many employees remain positive about career opportunities; especially respondents with children at home, according to a survey.

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The coronavirus pandemic has altered many fundamental parts of day-to-day life in recent months. This includes a surge in telecommuting and online distance learning as part of the new normal of work and education amid COVID-19. Despite these life-altering transformations, the majority of individuals appear to be optimistic about their future career opportunities and many are taking steps to increase job opportunities, according to a recent survey from Champlain College.

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"Some of history's most influential leaders have remarked that opportunity is found during times of crisis–that breakdowns often lead to breakthroughs. Americans are resilient and driven to leverage these challenging times, not be defeated by them. They're optimistic about their futures and careers, and motivated to invest in them even when faced with a remarkably challenging 2020," said Benjamin Ola. Akande, president of Champlain College, in a press release.

The Champlain College Online-commissioned survey was conducted between Sept. 16 and 18 and included more than 1,000 respondents from across the US. More than half (55%) of survey respondents felt either somewhat or mostly optimistic about their future careers at the time of the survey.

Many respondents had taken actions to improve their prospective careers. Updating one's resume topped the list of actions taken to improve future career opportunities followed by "reaching out for career help" and utilizing free training courses to develop new skills.

Interestingly, whether or not a household had children appeared to influence many professionals' career decisions and future outlook. Respondents with children living with them were markedly more optimistic with regards to their prospective careers compared to respondents without children. About six-in-10 (63%) respondents with children at home were optimistic about their prospective careers compared to about half (51%) of households without children.

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For households with children, half of these respondents had looked for a new position since March and 41% of these individuals were seeking a job more proximal to their home. Those with children at home were also "more likely to accelerate the decision to gain new skills for the workplace."

Households with children were also more likely to feel as though a "college degree is a smart investment for a better career," compared to households without children.

"At a time with so much uncertainty, it's remarkable and inspiring to see optimism about career prospects, an eagerness to develop professional skills, and an awareness that one's own actions are still the key to creating a positive career trajectory," said Jen Morris, executive career coach, founder of Career Inspo, and special career adviser to Champlain College Online, in a press release.

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