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

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:

  • 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 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

12 habits that could be hurting your career
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12 habits that could be hurting your career

You keep your mouth shut

You keep your head down. You don't speak out. You don't get out of line.

Your aversion to putting yourself out there professionally may seem like a good protective measure, but it's holding you back.

If you feel like your current work environment actively discourages people from sticking their necks out for fear of reprisal, you may be dealing with a toxic work environment. If you're just psyching yourself out, though, you've fallen into a terrible habit. 

Photo credit: Getty

You fidget

Fidgeting might actually be good for you, in certain cases.

Still, try to limit the squirming around other people. It makes you look anxious and antsy, which in turn might make your colleagues nervous and uncomfortable. It's a bad habit that might drive others away. 

Photo credit: Getty

You're always tardy 

We all have that one friend who is constantly late. Or maybe you're that friend who is constantly late (I know I am). 

In your career, though, tardiness can't be excused by a few desperate, emoji-ridden messages to your friends' group text. Showing up late makes you look careless and unreliable. 

Photo credit: Getty

You hold grudges 

I'm not telling you that you need to walk around singing kumbaya. It's fine and normal to dislike and distrust certain people. 

But holding intense grudges is just a waste of your valuable time and energy. Also, if you express these feelings to other people, you run the risk of sounding vengeful and kind of scary. Learn to let things go. 

Photo credit: Getty

You conform

Conforming was a survival tactic in middle school, but you're an adult with a career now. Stop caring intently about what others think. Do what works for you. 

If you devote all your time to blending in, you won't stand out.

Photo credit: Getty

You overspend

If money's always burning a hole in your pocket, you're setting yourself up for long-term financial woes. Saving money is crucial for your financial future. 

Beat this habit by learning to identify psychological triggers for overspending

Photo credit: Getty

You procrastinate 

I'll tell you all about the downsides of procrastination later.

Just kidding. Seriously, though, indecisiveness could lose you time, money, and even the respect of those around you.

Photo credit: Getty

You lie 

This one's pretty simple. Be honest. It's easy to fall into the trap of weaving small untruths that stretch into bigger and bigger lies. Break that habit.

Yeah, there are horror stories about cheats and liars who schemed their way to the top. But that doesn't mean you should develop a dishonest, Machiavellian streak (although, in fairness, Niccolò Machiavelli's bad rep is not entirely fair). 

Photo credit: Getty

You speak without thinking 

It's important to be authentic. That doesn't mean you should be spouting off without thinking, though. 

Don't be the person that blurts out whatever's on your mind. It's an annoying habit that can make you seem rude, awkward, and uninformed. 

Photo credit: Getty

You gossip 

Gossip's a mixed bag. Sometimes it's necessary; some employers even encourage it

Most of the time, though it's a nasty and distracting habit. If you've basically become the Littlefinger of your office, you need to chill. Your empire of rumors could come crashing down around you at any moment — or, at the very least, you might seriously alienate your coworkers and bosses.

Photo credit: Getty

You complain

Complaining is like a competitive sport for some people. Everyone has gripes. Plus, bottling things up isn't a good thing. Sometimes, it's good to air your grievances and make yourself heard. Just don't be the person who never stops grumbling about trivial matters. 

Photo credit: Getty

You zone out 

I'm definitely guilty of this one. Spacing out can actually be a gift, especially when you want to tune out the world and dive into a good book.

But this habit can also really hurt you in the workplace. Listening's an important skill. No one trusts the competence of anyone who's constantly zoned out. Save the daydreaming for after work. 

Photo credit: Getty


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