- Skynova conducted a study to find out how many people complete their five-year career plans and what influences their decision to stay, or switch jobs.
- Nearly 3 in 5 workers with a career plan are optimistic about the current job market, compared to just 33% of workers without a career plan.
- How closely a person follows their career plan seems to be directly related to job satisfaction, with 77% of those who had adhered to theirs closely reporting being satisfied with their current job.
Now well into the New Year, more people are evaluating what they really want out of their careers. With this in mind, Skynova recently surveyed over 1,000 multigenerational workers across the U.S. to find out how many have defined career plans.
“Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” Is a question that most people in the job market have had to answer at some point. This has always been a generally difficult question, but the current state of affairs has made it even more so.
The study’s goal was to find out how many people complete their five-year career plans, how many do not, what derails their plans or makes people change them, and the impact of these factors on their perceived quality of life.
Some Study Highlights:
- Earning a higher salary (65%) and developing a better work-life balance (59%) are the most important career plans for workers—yet only 44% have received a salary increase in recent years.
- 58% of people who’ve changed jobs in pursuit of their career plan are more satisfied, compared to just 33% who haven’t changed jobs.
- Nearly 3 in 5 workers with a career plan are optimistic about the current job market compared to just 33% of workers without a career plan—workers in their 20s (55%) and 30s (54%) are most optimistic about the current job market.
How many people have career plans/goals?
According to the study, the vast majority of people (97%) have at least some outline of a career plan that they would like to stick to. However, only 59% said that they follow or have followed it very closely.
Earning more money, achieving a better work-life balance, and learning new skills were the most popular career goals.
The easiest to achieve were increasing network size (67%) and learning new skills (65%).
Unfortunately, the most frequently cited goal (earning a higher salary) also turned out to be the most difficult to accomplish (44%).
Who is sticking to their career plans?
76% of men and 68% of women reported changing jobs in the past five years as part of their career plan. More millennials said the same (77%) than baby boomers (64%) or Gen Xers (65%). Millennials and Gen Zers were also the most likely to say that they were following their plans very closely.
How closely a person follows their career plan seems to be directly related to job satisfaction, with 77% of those who had adhered to theirs closely reporting being satisfied with their current job.
In comparison, among those who followed their plan only slightly or not at all, only 16% claimed job satisfaction.
Health care, finance, and information systems were the industries with the most respondents following their plan closely or extremely closely.
How do people feel about their job security and finances?
When asked about how financially secure they would feel if they lost or quit their job tomorrow, a little over half (52%) of people surveyed said that they would be somewhat secure, while one-third felt they would be very secure.
Notably, those who were following their career plans the closest were most likely to feel very secure (44%), while those who weren’t following their plan at all were least likely to feel the same (13%).
How many months could workers live on their savings if they stopped working?
When asked about their savings in terms of the number of months their money would last if they stopped working tomorrow, the most common answer was four to six months.
Those 50 and over were the most likely to have larger savings; 23% of this group reported that they would be able to last 12 months or longer without finding alternative employment.
The youngest respondents (those in their 20s) were the least likely to have enough savings for over 12 months (8%).
The majority of workers are looking optimistically to the future
Reporting on their feelings about the path ahead, the majority of respondents felt very optimistic. Across all age groups, over half were very optimistic about doing better in life than their parents.
Those with a career plan were significantly more likely than those without one to feel very optimistic about a variety of factors, from exceeding their parents’ achievements to the current job market, the current political leadership, and the global economy.
Those over 50 seemed to have the least optimistic outlook on the current job market, possibly because older workers are increasingly undervalued in their existing positions or overlooked in favor of younger hires when applying for new ones.
Meanwhile, those in their 30s were the most optimistic about doing better than their parents, the current political leadership, and the global economy.
Based on the data, it can safely be concluded that having a long-term career plan is the best option for securing a happy and stable professional future, which tends to lead to more job satisfaction and increased financial security.