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Interestingly, people are turning to robots to support their career development after the COVID-19 pandemic left them feeling lonely and disconnected from their own lives.

A recent global study of more than 14,600 employees, managers, HR leaders, and C-level executives, across 13 countries, has revealed that 78% of people feel “stuck” professionally, and 77% personally.

According to the study, by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence, this is particularly due to COVID-19, with 90% of those surveyed indicating their meaning of success has changed since the pandemic started.

Interestingly, people are turning to robots to support their career development after the COVID-19 pandemic left them feeling lonely and disconnected from their own lives.

Struggles within the APAC region

It is no surprise that more than a year of lockdowns and disruptions has left many workers in emotional turmoil. However, companies are taking note and are taking steps to protect their employees’ mental health — 78% felt their companies were more concerned with their mental health now than before the pandemic. The survey also further revealed that:

  1. 80% of people have been negatively impacted by the last year, with
    1. 31% struggling financially;
    2. 29% suffering from declining mental health;
    3. 25% lacking career motivation;
    4. 25% feeling lonelier, and
    5. 22% feeling disconnected from their own lives.
  2. 63% found 2021 to be the most stressful year at work ever — more than half (55%) of people struggled with mental health at work in 2021, compared to 2020.

People also noted they have lost control mainly over their personal lives (47%); futures (46%), and finances (45%).

Faced with challenges, people are motivated to change

Unsurprisingly, with the disruption giving 93% of people more time to stop and reflect on their lives, people are motivated to make changes — 90% said the meaning of success has changed for them since the pandemic, with work-life balance (43%); mental health (38%), and workplace flexibility (34%) now top priorities.

  1. 78% feel stuck professionally as they don’t have growth opportunities to progress in their career (27%), with 23% feeling too overwhelmed to make any changes.
  2. 72% of people say feeling stuck in their career has negatively impacted their personal lives, by adding extra stress and anxiety (42%); contributing to feeling stuck personally (31%), and taking focus away from their personal lives (28%).
  3. 84% of people are ready to make a career change, but 79% said they are facing major obstacles.
    1. The biggest hurdles include financial instability (24%); not knowing what career change makes sense for them (23%); not feeling confident enough to make a change (22%), and seeing no growth opportunities at their company (22%).

Apart from the above, when employees were asked what was top-of-mind in their journey of change, professional development was the common response. In fact, many willing to give up key benefits such as flexible work arrangements (60%); vacation time (55%), and even monetary bonuses (52%) or part of their salary (48%) for more career opportunities moving into 2022.

At the same time, 86% of the workforce in APAC are not satisfied with their employer’s support, with 38% looking for organisations to provide more learning and skills development, 32% looking for opportunities for new roles within their company, and 32% wanting more workplace flexibility.

Employees are turning to technology to acquire new skills

With the above in mind, there is a need for employers to pay more attention now to employee needs, and leverage technology to provide better support to retain and grow top talent amidst rapidly-changing workplace dynamics, the survey highlighted.

  1. 89% of people want technology to help define their future by recommending ways to learn new skills (40%); identifying skills they need to develop (39%), and providing the next steps to progress towards career goals (37%).
  2. 82% of people would make life changes based on robot recommendations.
  3. 88% believe robots can support their careers better than a human by giving unbiased recommendations (41%); delivering resources tailored to their current skills or goals (38%), or quickly answering questions about their career (37%).
  4. 91% of people believe their company should be doing more to listen to their needs, with 61% saying they are more likely to stay with a company that uses advanced technologies like AI to support their career growth.

While the above in so, the respondents believe at the end of the day, humans still play a critical role in their career development, and are in fact better at providing support by offering advice based on personal experience (45%.); identifying strengths and weaknesses (43%), and looking beyond a resume to recommend roles that fit personalities (39%).

Shaakun Khanna, Head of HCM Cloud Applications Strategy, Asia Pacific, Oracle, shares: “With these changing priorities, organisations need to do more to attract and retain talent. They need to double down their efforts to help employees identify and develop new skills, and provide personalised career journeys to put them in control of their careers once again.”

Lead image / 123RF

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