From Great Resignation to Great Talent Stagnation: U.S. workforce faces a skills and recognition crisis

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The phenomenon of the “Great Resignation” has transitioned into what is now being called the “Great Talent Stagnation,” according to the latest findings from the University of Phoenix Career Institute. This shift reflects a growing challenge for employers: the scarcity of qualified applicants, despite a workforce eager to upskill and advance.

The Career Optimism Index study surveyed over 5,000 U.S. workers, revealing that more than half feel easily replaceable at their jobs, with almost two-thirds reporting a lack of opportunities to progress within their current companies. Additionally, about a third feel unrecognized by company leadership, contributing to low morale and productivity.

Employers seem to be looking outward for talent to spur growth, neglecting the potential within their existing workforce. The survey indicates a significant disconnect: while over 60% of employers believe they provide ample growth opportunities, only just over a third of workers concur. This discrepancy suggests that businesses are missing out on developing internal talent that could drive future success.

Moreover, the study highlights a critical gap in skills development, with a vast majority of workers recognizing the need for a broader skill set to stay competitive. Despite this, companies continue to recruit externally rather than investing in the advancement of their current employees.

This talent stagnation not only affects individual career growth but also impacts the broader economy. With many workers feeling undervalued and concerned about economic instability, the turnover rate is likely to increase, posing higher costs for companies. The report estimates that U.S. companies could save up to $1.35 trillion cumulatively by nurturing their existing workforce instead of always looking externally.

In a time of high inflation and economic uncertainty, this call to action for employers is clear: invest in your current workforce to harness their full potential and drive both individual and corporate success.


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