5 Common Barriers To Career Progression

Career progression is an important subject to many, especially employees. It has several advantages, including higher income, more experience, better working conditions, etc. Unfortunately, not everyone has their career opportunities laid out clearly. Last year, 43% of employees were significantly worried about their stalled career progression. External, personal, and professional barriers hinder them from attaining this. Below is a discussion on some of these hindrances and how you can work around each.

A wide gap in work history

A survey conducted by indeed.com revealed that 9 out of 10 people have minor gaps in their work history. In many instances, it was time taken to go back to school, take care of family, or because they lost their employment for a short period. Sometimes, people quit their jobs to set up businesses but return to formal employment after a few years. The problem, however, arises when a person has an unusually wide gap of more than a year with no tangible explanation. For these people, it can be a challenge to have a smooth career progression. The likely reason is that potential employers will carefully scrutinize your résumé in hopes of getting to know your track record. Therefore, a wide unexplained gap in work history can be a red flag for an employer. 

Ideally, a wide gap should not be much of a problem. However, in the world of employment, it can be interpreted as a period of inefficiency, especially when there is no tangible explanation for that. Fortunately, you can overcome this problem by indicating a very short explanation for the wide gap on your résumé. If not, this is something you can easily explain when you get called for an interview. The idea here is to cover your tracks and to ensure that a potential employer gives you that much-needed opportunity.

The issue of burnout

Three out of five employees experience burnout, and more often than not, it reflects in their work outcomes. According to a Pew Research survey, an employee going through a burnout period loses their initial enthusiasm about the job. The lack of motivation takes a toll on productivity. In the end, the company bears the brunt of this development. Logically, no employer would want to offer a promotion to an employee who has lost the drive to maintain consistently high levels of productivity. Burnout is a common problem in the formal and informal workforce. However, statistics indicate that it is higher and more prevalent in the formal sector. 

This is largely because many workers feel compelled to exceed the average 40 working hours weekly. Indeed, employees may not entirely be at fault for experiencing burnout. The reason is that some companies overload their workers with tasks that require additional work hours, which seems unfair. The ripple effect then becomes your demotivation and utter indifference toward the job. Certainly, you don’t expect to progress in your career when saddled with this mental and emotional burden. Thankfully, burnout can be fully addressed with the help of a professional coach. You can rely on the Kate McKay podcast, a psychologist, and other credible means to learn about maintaining your physical well-being and overcoming unhealthy feelings about work. 

Failing to align interests with where the money is

It has already been established that the main motivation behind career progression is to create wealth. Logically, when you move higher up the proverbial career ladder, the financial packages will be significantly higher than what you were previously used to. However, what people fail to acknowledge is the alignment of interests. The question is, does the progression match your career interests? This is critical for preventing burnout and maintaining or improving productivity.

If your interests fail to align with the career path, burnout will happen quicker than you thought. Before you know it, you will be back at square one. Certainly, money matters, but how much can it safeguard your mental, physical and emotional health? That is a question you must ask yourself when deciding to progress in a particular industry. To overcome this barrier, it would be best to first identify what you’re good at.

Lack of adequate experience

You may already have some experience as an employee, but can it get you through the necessary doors for career progression? It can be a major barrier for many people looking for a big break. Millennials and Gen Zs usually find themselves in this trap once too often. They realize that most companies require at least three years of experience for most roles. Additionally, they choose to leave any employment that interferes with the normal structure of their personal lives or their mental health. 

While this may be positive news for burnout prevention and remedy, it prevents you from gaining experience. In the long run, the tendency to quit hinders career progression. This obstacle can be easily overcome by finding a suitable work-life balance and setting the necessary work boundaries to prevent resentment of your job and safeguard your mental health. This way, you can gain the necessary experience for your career path. You can enrich it further by joining professional networks in your field and asking for advice from people who have tread the same path as you and have been successful. It will also allow you to make strategic contacts and build your career. That way, your journey to the top can be smoother.

Lack of direction

Perhaps, you know the career most suited for you. Unfortunately, you have no idea how to get there. Would you need professional courses to make your résumé more attractive? Would it be important to learn the digital aspects of your career to appeal more to potential employers? For instance, you might have trained in traditional marketing but have no idea what digital marketing entails. However, currently, digital marketing is gaining ground in the 21st century; without it, a traditional marketer may struggle to progress further in the field. The whole point of lacking direction is failing to identify the processes and opportunities to advance in your chosen career.

Getting stuck in a career without any opportunity to progress can be worrying. For an employee, it could mean a life of working and not earning enough to be comfortable or reaching your self actuality goals. These tips should help you avoid that.

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