Job pressure is at a particular high at the moment due to an unsteady market. It’s unsurprising that research by Doodle, Career Development in a Pandemic, found that only 36 per cent of respondents' careers progressed throughout the pandemic. Because of the crisis, most employees have seen their careers stand still, setting their development back by months.
Despite the slowdown in progression, the modern workplace is as fast paced as ever, and with the acceleration of technology, it is only set to get faster. Many industries, such as finance and accountancy, are highly competitive, so it’s never been more important to make the most of your employment journey and ensure that it is evolving.
We’ve all had times in our career where we feel like we’re struggling to progress, whether that is due to the pandemic or for other reasons. Below we share some insight into how employees can give their career a ‘health check’ and avoid stagnation.
Make wise choices
If you are at the early stages of your career, it is important to try to look ahead at what you want to achieve later down the line. Determine your short-term objectives and align them with your long-term goals by asking yourself, “What experience do I need to take the next step?” Once you have identified how you want to grow and progress, it can boost motivation and productivity, as well as help you feel more settled in the workplace.
Throughout your career, there is always room for improvement when it comes to your understanding of the industry you serve and your skillset. Undertaking additional training and learning will boost you both professionally and personally: from software and IT to interpersonal ‘soft skills’, keep learning to stay ahead of the curve and keep your career evolving. There are hundreds of online options which will ensure you can learn at a pace and time that suits you: workshops, YouTube videos, webinars and conferences, podcasts and more – the options are endless.
Big vs Small
The choice in many industries is whether to opt for a large multinational company or an SME. Both offer pros and cons, so when giving your career a health check, it’s worth deliberating what your priorities are, what your workplace is offering you, and whether you would be better off in a different setting.
Working within a start-up or SME offers a chance to learn (and progress) very quickly, often working closely with senior leadership, and can sometimes allow you to have more influence in decisions and see your suggestions implemented.
Large organisations can offer wide opportunities to work on a variety of projects, lay out clear career paths and develop your network. Take the time to again consider what your long-term goals are and decide what your next step should be accordingly.
Talk to your employer
If you feel your career has taken a pause, the best thing to do is discuss it with your employer or line manager. If no one knows how you are feeling, it’ll be difficult for them to help you. By highlighting your hunger to take the next step, your employer will more than likely be happy to set you up on a more challenging path that not only extends your role and responsibilities but puts you in the perfect position to demonstrate your abilities to progress further.
Sometimes, there’s only so far you can go within your role. If you feel you have exhausted all avenues, the next step might mean seeking a new opportunity. Don’t be afraid to talk to a recruiter about the options you have. Wade Macdonald specialises in HR, Finance and Accountancy and Data and Artificial Intelligence, and are always happy to chat.
We have heard the words ‘unprecedented times’ ring countless times over the last 16 months, so don’t feel disheartened if you haven’t reached your career goals during this time. However, to keep your prospects in mind, evaluate your career goals and give it a routine ‘health check’ every few years to ensure you are on track and avoid stagnating.