Designing a career path requires a flexible mindset

Candidates ready to learn and want fulfilment in their jobs, says a Michael Page survey.

A traditional career path generally means starting at the bottom and working your way to the top, with some people choosing to do this in the same sector and even the same company for their working life.

However, today’s job market is much more dynamic, with people moving from job to job in different sectors. Highly skilled individuals move quickly through the ranks while others consider a good work-life balance as a high priority in their careers.

In order to find out how people’s career strategies are changing, specialist recruiters Michael Page surveyed 172 candidates in South Africa from mid-July through September on retraining and career change.

However, the days when stability defined a successful career may still not be a thing of the past, as the study shows that 55 percent of the candidates polled said they had received a promotion in the same company and 28 percent of the respondents said they had moved up a level in the same company.

In terms of staying in the same role before considering a move, 13 percent of candidates chose a duration of between three to five years, with three years the most popular answer. Thirty-one percent said it depended on the dynamics of the company, which suggests that a flexible mindset is a must-have skill when mapping career paths.

Around 31 percent of candidates have either already made a career change or are in the process of doing so (20 percent).

Interestingly, in terms of career change, around 36 percent of those polled said they needed extra training to facilitate their move, against 35 percent who did not. Among the former, 14 percent had to quit their jobs to focus on retraining. Around 31 percent of all respondents had completed a skills assessment or received some guidance from professionals.

The majority of respondents are ready and willing to learn new things (63 percent), see the potential for opening up more opportunities and a better career path (54 percent) and want an opportunity that is a fit with their skills and interests (54 percent).

Survey results clearly show that people want a sense of fulfilment in their working lives, with 60 percent wanting to work for a company with a strong purpose, 44 percent wanting a job more in alignment with their personal values and ethics, 43 percent looking to achieve a better work/life balance and 38 percent looking for better compensation.