Half of workers unsure how to change their career

"HR must foster a culture of self-directed learning and career ownership," said HR consultant, Asad Husain

Nearly half (49%) of UK workers reported that they want to change their career but don’t know how, a report by the HR consultancy LHH revealed yesterday.

A further 54% of workers reported that they felt external factors, like company performance and the economy, had more control over their career than they did.

Of the 2,017 UK employees surveyed by LHH, one in five (20%) respondents cited limited opportunities in their own industries as having held them back in their career.

When asked how often they consider their career plans, 20% reported that they did so weekly.

Daisy Hooper, head of policy and innovation for the Chartered Management Institute, told HR magazine that HR leaders should train managers to help employees progress.

She said: “Empowering managers to drive employee career progression is paramount. Our research consistently shows that effective managers enhance employee engagement, loyalty and productivity. 

“The employee-line manager relationship is by some measure the most crucial in any employee journey. By investing in high-quality management training, employers can arm managers with the tools to effectively guide and develop their teams.”

Read more: Majority of UK workers lack regular career conversations

The LHH report cited that 68% of workers felt that companies should upskill existing staff before hiring externally.

Over half (55%) of employers were looking to maintain their current staff levels, the CIPD reported in its Spring Labour Market Outlook 2024 report.

HR consultant, Asad Husain suggested that HR leaders should foster a culture of continuous learning to encourage employees' professional growth.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: "To encourage employees to take ownership of their own development, HR must foster a culture of self-directed learning and career ownership. This involves clearly communicating that career development is a shared responsibility between the employee, their manager and the organisation.

"HR should provide easily accessible learning resources, such as online courses, mentoring programmes and stretch assignments, enabling employees to upskill autonomously. Encouraging employees to proactively seek feedback, explore career paths and propose development opportunities aligned with their goals is also essential."

More than two thirds (69%) of senior leaders in the UK reported that they had a formal executive development programme in place to invest in senior leaders, a February survey by LHH and the International Centre for Executive Options (ICEO) found.

Meanwhile, 47% of staff said they wanted to move into management but they were held back by the lack of leadership management.

HR should create a talent development process to train leaders of the future, Husain added.

Read more: Unlocking manager effectiveness: the next wave of HR productivity and performance

He continued: "Facilitating leadership development is critical for building a strong pipeline of future leaders. It is critical that future leaders are identified early, and then developed.

"This requires HR to put in place a strong talent assessment process across the organisation, identifying high-potential employees, and discussing and offering targeted leadership training programmes to accelerate their growth. This process should also identify successors for critical positions for the organisation."

LHH and ICEO found that 20% of workers noted underrepresentation of women and other diverse groups in the executive ranks at their organisation.

Nearly all (97%) of FTSE 100 companies now have at least one director from an ethnic minority background on their board, a March report showed.

Hooper recommended that employers use targeted initiatives to support career progression of underrepresented talent.

She commented: "Employers should implement targeted initiatives to increase the representation of diverse leaders, including mentorship and sponsorship programmes tailored for underrepresented groups.

"But efforts should begin with establishing ambitions and a strategy for benchmarking and measuring progress over time, using data such as demographics, pay gaps and employee feedback to identify areas for improvements."