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5 Reasons Career Progression is Crucial for Personal Development

10th September 2021

The term ‘career progression’ isn’t just about the milestones we set over time in terms of promotion and career migration. Instead, it is an ongoing practice of learning and growth which gives us the skills to succeed in our long- and short-term career goals.

But this drive doesn’t necessarily come naturally to us all. Some are not driven to take the next step, and find the security of a steady role comforting. It’s understandable – change can be intimidating, and it requires a certain confidence to put yourself forward into unfamiliar situations, even if the rewards feel worthwhile.

Others may simply feel fulfilled in their current position – if your role meets your wants and needs, you may not feel that drive towards ‘career progression’. But wherever you are in your career journey, growth and change are inevitable and it’s good to have aims and aspirations, even if you don’t act on them right away. It’s why employers are so fond of asking where you see yourself in five years – rather than six months.

If you don’t have a goal in mind, it can be difficult to define growth – even more so to define success. And if you don’t know where to start, it can be a good idea to reach out to your colleagues for their advice, or even better, your manager. Chances are they’ll be just as eager to see you succeed, as it will benefit them too.

Companies are more likely to keep employees that actively show an interest in training programmes, and multi-talented employees have a distinctive edge. Not only that, but research shows that 94% of employees will choose to stay with a company that offers them the potential to grow their career.

If you need that extra push to take the next leap, here are just 5 ways that career progression can benefit your personal development.

1. Greater Job Satisfaction

Nothing beats the feeling of having accomplished something great. If you have room to grow in your career, then you’ll have the opportunity to achieve your full potential.

Edwin A. Locke has the most widely quoted definition of job satisfaction, describing it as “a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or experiences.” This definition has been used since the 1970s to help measure satisfaction in the workplace, and though it may seem a simplistic definition, the research seems to agree.

Studies show that with 64% saying that they’re happy in their current role, job satisfaction in the UK is the lowest in Europe. But that same 64% put ‘passion over pay’, saying that their overall job satisfaction was far more important than their salary. But unfortunately, research demonstrates that a quarter of employees feel as though they don’t have the opportunity to grow in their careers, another contributing factor to a frustrated workforce.

Inadequate management, pay, and a feeling of being undervalued are amongst the other leading causes of job dissatisfaction. But by pursuing your own development, you will become instantly more valuable not only to your workplace but to your industry, opening opportunities within your company and elsewhere.

Employees are increasingly valuing job satisfaction over anything else in the workplace. Collaborate with your boss so that you can put a plan in place for growth and maximise your happiness at work.

2. Financial Growth

They say that money makes the world go round.

And though research shows it’s lower down employees’ priority lists than we might expect, who amongst us wouldn’t benefit from a slight boost to our salary?

And with career progression comes greater financial freedom. No one wants to live pay cheque to pay cheque, and as your development brings that inevitable boost for your salary, it means not only hitting career milestones but life milestones too.

Even if you don’t have your sights set on becoming a lavish spender, financial growth means that you’ll be able to put more away each month for that rainy day emergency.

3. Seeking New Challenges

If you have achieved all you can in your current position, the only way is up, right?

But if your current role doesn’t offer any challenges or room for improvement, chances are you’ll start to disengage after a while. Workers who feel challenged in their jobs tend to be more engaged overall, which inevitably leads not only to higher retention rates, but greater job satisfaction too.

Career progression will open up new challenges and this will stimulate your brain and strengthen your skills in a variety of different areas.

We all like comfort and routine, however getting too comfortable in your role can leave you at a loss for where to go next.

It’s a good idea to develop your qualifications, not only will this increase your career prospects, but it will also provide you with excellent intellectual challenges. Progressing in your industry will offer you more inspiring opportunities, the work might be more difficult, but this will give you greater pride in your work when you succeed.

If you take on and triumph in a challenging position, you well inevitably feel like you have accomplished something grand, and the feeling of accomplishment leads to greater overall levels of life satisfaction.

4. Boost Your Confidence

Confidence is important, both in your life and in your work.

98% of employees perform better when they feel self-assured in their role and skills, but studies show there is an overall confidence crisis in the workplace. Confidence doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and being confident at work can be a struggle. Research has revealed that 79% of women say they lack confidence in the workplace, and though many employers are doing what they can to inspire women workers, the lack of confidence in both genders can be attributed to a number of factors, not least of all a lack of development at work.

Career progression can be deeply affirming and an excellent way to improve one’s confidence, but the benefits of boosting your self-esteem extend beyond the workplace to permeate every aspect of your life, improving your relationships, resilience, and developing a stronger sense of self.

When you’re more confident, you’ll find that you spend far less time at the whims of social anxiety, because an increase in your confidence means that you’re far less concerned by how you are regarded by others.

5. Future Proof Your Profession

It’s hard, if not impossible, to know what your career is going to look like in ten years’ time. Industries are evolving faster than ever, partly out of necessity, and partly because evolution is just a fact of life.

We live in rapidly changing times, and if the last 18 months have proved anything, it’s just how dramatic those changes can be.

Future proofing is defined as “to design a software, a computer, etc. so that it can still be used in the future, even when technology changes.” While this is important for technological advances, you should also make sure that you apply this logic to your career.

Maintaining your technological literacy is one great way to do this in a world which relies increasingly on digital comms. But by ambitiously climbing the career ladder, you’ll develop skills along the way that will make you invaluable in your industry.

Don’t turn down any opportunity to move forward. If you do, you risk being left behind and forgotten in favour of colleagues who present themselves as more ambitious. Take every opportunity you can to diversify your skills – we live in a world in which the ability to adapt a short notice is essential to success – and take initiative too! Don’t just wait for development opportunities to present themselves, but actively seek them out and consider which new skills and disciplines would be valuable in your arsenal.

Certain jobs are more in demand than others, the data industry is a hot topic right now, so if you work in data then consider growing your qualifications to make yourself even more employable and flexible

Of course, certain careers are evergreen, but that doesn’t mean you should get complacent. Health care professionals will always be in high demand, and if you work in the health care industry and are looking for opportunities to switch up your role, then consider studying Heath Care Management MSc   or Advanced Midwifery Practice MSc in order to maximise your future career opportunities.

Progressing in your career is a great way to achieve personal development, because the skills you gain as you work to climb the ladder of your particular industry will benefit every aspect of your life. 

Fear of change is natural but pushing yourself to leave your comfort zone will open up opportunities that will actively improve your day-to-day life, from increased financial security to greater levels of self-confidence.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your industry, then consider doing so through distance learning. This way you’ll be able to gain new qualifications while you work. The flexibility of distance learning means that you can study to suit your schedule. 

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