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Wed 25th Jan 2012

Where did it all go wrong?


Is your career is in the doldrums? Do you find yourself staring at your computer screen and wondering how it all went wrong? Well, youre not alone.

A recent survey of 2,000 employees* released by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) found that almost half (42%) of those questioned felt they were further behind in their careers than they would like to be at this stage of their lives.

The data goes on to reveal that while individuals are blaming their slow progress on those around them, some have accepted that they have the power to do something about it. However, few appear to be sufficiently motivated and many prefer to spend their time surfing the net and watching TV.

And the survey says

According to the survey, some employees believe that they have been overlooked for promotion or a pay-rise in the last year because their employer doesn't have the funds available to pay for them to progress (22%). Others go further, claiming that their boss is not backing them (9%). However, many respondents admit that they need to get more experience (13%), and that they do not have the right training or qualifications (6%) to advance.

The CMI survey highlights employees' recognition that they need to do more to get ahead in their careers, including working overtime on a regular basis (44%), taking on additional responsibility for no extra money (37%) and studying in their spare time for a professional qualification (45%).

However, despite the fact that nearly a third of those surveyed (29%) believe that a professional qualification helps an individual's ability to take on more responsibility, a mere 4% of those surveyed are currently studying for a professional qualification and only 12% plan to do so in the near future.

So why are so few people doing anything to help themselves? The top reasons cited in the CMI survey were the cost of qualifications (39%), the length of time they would take to complete (30%) and not knowing which qualification would be best for my career development (13%).

We all complain that we have too little time these days. Yet CMIs survey also shows that each week the UKs employees are spending an average of five hours watching television, four hours shopping online or using social media, and two hours playing computer games - yet completing a degree equivalent qualification would only amount to three hours a week of study throughout the year.

Get on course

As the copywriter at a general further education college, I often speak to people who have transformed their lives through training. Ive interviewed an apprentice accountant who has risen to become a company director, a telesales operative who is now developing his firms website and a plumber who had doubled his turnover by re-training in environmental technologies.

Some of the people Ive met through work have changed their careers entirely. Ive interviewed a DJ who retrained as a chef and opened his own restaurant, a solicitor who became a journalist and a furniture maker who turned to business administration.  There are many more examples of people who sought out a training provider because they wanted to improve their lives or develop their careers.

So if you do find yourself questioning your lack of career progress, why not sign up for a course this year? You could you improve your job prospects, develop a new skill or even launch yourself on a brand new career. 

* Survey of 2,000 UK employees was conducted by OnePoll, August 2011