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New Survey Drills into Employee Concerns for Their Future

DeVry University’s First Look at Workplace Sentiment Reveals Significant Uncertainty About Career Stability, with 25% Considering Job Changes Due to Crisis

DeVry University announced the results of “Understanding Workplace Sentiment During COVID-19,” its nationwide survey of how American employees understand the resilience of their careers at a moment of profound crisis.

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“Founded in 1931 during the depths of the Depression, DeVry continues to be committed to building a talented and sustainable workforce ready to face career challenges, no matter what those might be”

Given the severe impact of the coronavirus upon the global economy, it is not surprising that many people are rethinking their work and life priorities. According to DeVry’s Workforce Sentiment Survey, one in four respondents said they were thinking of changing careers due to COVID-19, with 38 percent citing a desire to work from home or better work/life balance as their top motivations. Other reasons for rethinking careers due to COVID-19 included job security (13 percent) and less exposure to illness (8 percent).

“Founded in 1931 during the depths of the Depression, DeVry continues to be committed to building a talented and sustainable workforce ready to face career challenges, no matter what those might be,” said Bill Caruso, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of DeVry University. “Our unwavering dedication to understanding and advancing workplace strengths prompted us to take a deep look at career durability as it is being experienced by employees during the COVID-19 crisis.”

DeVry defines “Career Durability” as a person’s ongoing capacity to acquire the skills, mindset and knowledge to be an engaged, productive member of the workforce. And as the demands of the workplace continually evolve, lifelong career resilience often calls for cycles of reinvention within diverse learning environments.

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Key Survey Takeaways

  • Of those who were employed, 31 percent were concerned a lack of either hard skills or certifications made them vulnerable to layoffs or would challenge their ability to find new employment:
  • Respondents were almost equally worried about a lack of soft skills or network, with 27 percent citing these areas of concern.
  • Interestingly, almost half (49 percent) reported they have no personal weaknesses of concern; they are confident in their capabilities as they relate to keeping or finding a job.
  • Similarly, 39 percent of respondents, who were currently working or intending to find work, do not plan on doing anything to boost their confidence in their current career.

For the nearly 60 percent who are planning to take proactive steps to increase their career confidence, the two most common plans included:

  • Networking (23 percent): with more men (27 percent) than women (17 percent) planning to network
  • Continuing education (45 percent): Almost half plan on continuing their education by obtaining a certificate, finishing or starting a degree, or pursuing a higher credential (approximately 11 percent in each subcategory)

Interestingly, very few (11 percent) planned to seek advice from their current employers, which could indicate a lack of trust or anticipated resources.

“We believe helping employees build durable value is important not only for their workplace resilience, but also for their wellbeing as individuals and as members of society,” said Caruso. “We look forward to being part of the solution to these challenges.”

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