Almost 50 percent of employees say this is why they can't get ahead in their careers

J.T. O'Donnell

At Work It Daily, we just completed our annual Career Confidence Survey. Over 1,000 participants shared their perceptions around professional satisfaction and their ability to improve their careers in 2017.

Here are some key findings:

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  • 35 percent (one in three workers), are employed but burned out and contemplating changing employers, industries, or careers entirely.

  • 17 percent are unemployed and desperate for a job.

  • 15 percent are underemployed, in a job they don't like, and looking for something better.

  • only 32 percent are happily employed and focused on their next career move to keep the momentum going.

However, of all the data, the following stood out the most:

47% Don't Know What Their Next Move Should Be

When asked why they aren't achieving the level of career success and satisfaction they desire, 21 percent said they don't know what they want to do next and another 26 percent said they don't have a clear strategy and tactics to achieve their goals. In short, almost half the working population doesn't know what steps they should take next to improve their careers.

So, what are they going to do about it?

  • 68 percent plan to read articles and watch videos from credible sources.

  • 65 percent said they'd also attending networking opportunities.

  • 50 percent said they plan to take an online course.

Conversely, only 13 percent said they plan to hire a career coach to help them. This number doesn't surprise me. A large percentage of adults have been wrongly conditioned to think seeking professional help for your career is a sign of weakness. Meanwhile, pro-athletes and corporate executives have a different take - and are laughing all the way to the bank. They recognize top performance comes from the help of unbiased experts dedicated to helping them improve. In their view, coaching isn't a sign of weakness, but a path to greatness.

Sadly, Most Professionals Won't Improve Their Careers In 2017

My 2017 prediction is many people will try to improve their careers next year, but few will succeed. Why? If reading an article, watching a video, or attending a networking event was all that was needed to achieve greater levels of career success, we'd have a lot more satisfied workers in the world than we do right now. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Many employees fall into the rut of trying the same approaches to fixing their careers, only to fail again.

Career Coaching Alternatives

The number one reason workers cite not using a career coach is cost. Many are fearful they won't get the return on the investment. Sites like The Muse and Coach.me offer a directory of coaches, but the choice is overwhelming, the prices vary widely, and you still don't really know what you're getting. However, there is an alternative. There are now a growing number of online learning platforms providing career improvement courses that include coaching. (Full discloser: Work It Daily is one of the providers of this kind of platform). It's an inexpensive way for professionals to get the help they need from experts at the fraction of the cost of hiring coaches for costly private sessions.

If you're looking to improve your career in 2017, consider how you might leverage some career hacks to help you. Getting the help you need doesn't have to break the bank. While failing to get the right type of help will cost you more in the long run.

RELATED: 12 habits that could be hurting your career

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