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The Great Career Reset

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How professionals are navigating a changing career landscape

COVID-19 has had far-reaching effects on our everyday lives. But how have these changes impacted people’s attitudes and plans for their careers? In its latest career outlook research, GetSmarter, a 2U, Inc. brand, set out to explore the responses of 648 professionals from all over the world. The findings reveal how an uncertain landscape, combined with months of disruption, has shifted the focus towards a more agile career with continuous learning at its core.

This report outlines the need to adapt to change and the importance of gaining transferable skills that can be used across different roles. To begin planning your skills growth, the Career Navigator tool offers key insights into planning for the future and effectively mapping out your professional development.

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How different industries have been affected

Workers in industries such as energy, oil, and transport, have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, with respondents reporting feeling significantly more distressed than they were 12 months ago. The market pressures on these industries are forcing professionals to reassess their plans for the future and look at other avenues for growing their careers.

Global respondents’ sentiments are unpacked in greater depth in this article:

Career advice | Future of work

The Great Career Reset: The Positive and Negative Impact of COVID-19

Navigating the new career landscape: The case for upskilling and reskilling

Now, more than ever, professionals are reevaluating what’s most important in their jobs. Having their world upended has opened people’s eyes to the different directions their careers could take. This has amplified the move away from long-term planning and towards a more fluid career path, with the majority of professionals saying their career vision changes frequently or is only mapped out for the next three years.

Professionals’ future career plans

As career paths become more fluid, more than half of surveyed professionals say they’re either somewhat likely or very likely to change jobs in the next 12 months. Even more notable is that 51% claim they may change job functions or business areas entirely. This highlights a growing need for people to upskill beyond their current expertise, or reskill as they look to change track entirely in order to take on new opportunities.

Learn more about how professionals are rethinking their career trajectories in this article:

Career advice | Future of work

The Great Career Reset: Pivoting From a Career Plan to a Skills Plan

Shifting from a career to a skills development plan

While professionals may no longer be mapping out lifelong career paths, they still need to plan their long-term skills development. The year 2020 confirmed that no industry is impervious to change and that it’s crucial for professionals to understand what other careers their skills could help them step into. They also need to know which of their skills are transferable, and what new skills they need to either advance in their careers, or to transition into a new one.

They can then use these answers as the building blocks for a more flexible career path. Much like how LEGO pieces can fit together to create any number of constructions, so professionals can use their skills to build and pivot their careers by reconfiguring them in various contexts throughout their lives.

The GetSmarter Skills Hierarchy acts as a guide for expanding on existing skills and creating a personalized learning plan.

Most important skills clusters to learn in 2021

When considering shifting career paths or progressing forward in their current field, professionals should spend time assessing their current skill set, where their gaps may be, and what the most important areas in which they need to upskill or reskill are.

GetSmarter Skills Hierarchy

Responding to change

The unprecedented change of the past year has had a varied impact on global professionals ‒ emotionally and on their careers. While some have responded with enthusiasm for the new opportunities it has presented, others have been faced with challenges that have forced them to rethink their priorities and their approach to work. However, where professionals are choosing to shift careers or are being driven to adapt, it’s clear that skills advancement is more important than ever.

This new premium placed on agile upskilling has resulted in a significant surge in interest for online courses,2 and has made continuous learning a core part of preparing for an uncertain and rapidly changing future.

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GetSmarter partners with the world's leading universities and institutions to design and deliver a range of premium online short courses, with a focus on flexibility and learning gain.

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Find the skills that will help you grow in your industry and beyond by using the Career Navigator tool.

Thriving vs surviving – women being driven to adapt

How current emotions differ between men and women

Read more about how different professionals are facing the challenges of a changing career landscape in this article:

Career advice | Future of work

The Great Career Reset: Why Some Thrive While Others Barely Survive

The shake up to careers and a refocus on skills development have left some respondents, particularly millennials, feeling positive about future prospects. However, the feeling of uncertainty and concern about future growth was also a clear theme, and GetSmarter’s data shows that not everyone has been affected equally.

Women, in particular, have felt the brunt of the past year as it added to challenges they already face in the workplace. Disproportionate furloughing and retrenchment, and a growing need to juggle work and home life, have meant that many women have been forced to adapt their careers to survive.1 As a result, their concern about the future has been exacerbated. When asked to rate their current feelings, women expressed feeling more distressed, less energized, and less self assured than men. Generation X have also been feeling particular pressure, as many have had to balance work with the burden of homeschooling their children for the first time.

The hierarchy can help professionals think about the skills they need to either move their career forward in their current field, or pivot completely into a new area. Below is an example of how a business systems analyst might pivot to become a product manager.

A skills plan for pivoting careers

Use the Career Navigator tool to find out what some of the most in-demand skills are for the role you are looking to move into.

Regardless of industry, respondents listed leadership and soft skills as the ones they most intend to learn in 2021. These are especially relevant in today’s landscape, where the ability to navigate change and complexity is more crucial than ever. They’re also some of the most easily transferred skills between sectors and aid in setting professionals apart no matter what road they decide to take.

The career impact of remote work

The blurring of work and parenting responsibilities hasn’t been the only challenge of remote working. Respondents also reported feeling a sense of isolation and lack of personal connection with their colleagues and clients. Not being able to travel or engage in person has led to a substantial loss in valuable networking opportunities which has, for many, resulted in a decline of influence. These new challenges brought on by COVID-19, could have a measurable impact on professionals’ careers and their ability to progress within them.

COVID-19 has had far-reaching effects on our everyday lives. But how have these changes impacted people’s attitudes and plans for their careers? In its latest career outlook research, GetSmarter, a 2U, Inc. brand, set out to explore the responses of 648 professionals from all over the world. The findings reveal how an uncertain landscape, combined with months of disruption, has shifted the focus towards a more agile career with continuous learning at its core.

This report outlines the need to adapt to change and the importance of gaining transferable skills that can be used across different roles. To begin planning your skills growth, the Career Navigator tool offers key insights into planning for the future and effectively mapping out your professional development.

Share this:

Start planning

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Start planning

The Great Career Reset

How professionals are navigating a changing career landscape.

GetSmarter, a 2U, Inc. brand, surveyed 648 professionals from around the world to find out how COVID-19 has impacted their career plans. This report outlines the need to adapt to change and the importance of gaining transferable skills that can be used across different roles.

Review your skills and start planning your professional development with the Career Navigator tool.

Source: Skills data used to build the above model supplied by Burning Glass.

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