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Our research has found that the main concern amongst those in their early careers is a lack of confidence and want to stand out in their workplace. Covering these topics in Early Career development programmes is vital in supporting those beginning their career journey.
If you are about to start or are in your first job, you’ll find these reflections and tips powerful in helping you to #BeYourselfAtWork. If you look after Early Careers programmes, use it to reflect on how up-to-date your approaches are.
What makes those in their early careers worried about the world of work and what are the key concerns that channel into a lack of confidence?
One factor is that they feel unprepared. The pandemic has halted work experience for many which has led 45% of university students to feel unprepared for work. A massive 96% say they faced barriers when looking for jobs. The top three barriers identified were a lack of work experience, a lack of opportunities to apply for roles and not having the necessary skills (Prospects).
A lack of self-confidence is very common. While many feel isolated it is important to remember that a large proportion of those in their early careers experience the same feelings, again Prospects share that 48% are worried that their shortage of confidence will hold them back while trying to secure a job. This worry has been nicknamed ‘The Crisis of Confidence’ due to how widespread the concern now is.
Just 22% feel confident in their future career and only 19% feel like they ‘have the confidence to go after the job they want.’
Even once they have secured the job, many feel unable to work effectively with 20% feel they are incapable of doing the work and 59% feeling that their work isn’t valued by their workplace. Interestingly, 41% of women and just 28% of men say that their confidence is holding them back. The difference can not only be seen in men and women but also in social class, as 52% agree that they have ‘lost confidence in themselves’ because of the pandemic which rises to 60% among those from lower-income backgrounds.
So, it’s not just you! People of every age and career stage can doubt themselves. The key is to work on your confidence as you would work on your practical skills or academic education or job role. Most of us don’t place enough if any focus on this. And with most wanting to stand out in their careers, confidence and being authentic have never been more important.
How can workplaces help? The main step is to recognise what people in their early careers want, help them to gain confidence on the inside and use who they are, their values, their positive character to stand out. 88% are willing to participate in Learning and Development programmes if offered. The desire is there but is your content up to date?
BY@W is creating a new global standard for work where everyone is able and confident to be themselves. We are changing the narrative of work to one where it is an opportunity to make your unique difference and love it. Find out more about iAM for Early Careers success.