Positive professional development doesn’t necessarily have to be a promotion, employees between the age of 30-49 agree

Professional development doesn’t have to be about a hierarchical rise. This is one of the results of the latest study concerning the Confidence Index of PageGroup which was carried out in the second quarter 2016. The study is based on answers of 976 respondents looking for a new job in Switzerland.

The most important thing for people looking for a new job is not, what many people expect, money and or the growing demand for a better work-life-balance but the development of new skills. 43 percent of the respondents aged 30 to 49 mentioned this as a reason to look for a new job. An interesting fact is that 79 percent said they would accept a similar or even a lower position for their new challenge – the focus is on learning. The results is similar amongst all age groups surveyed.

Job applicants would accept a lot of restrictions for their new job

The outcome is surprising. Usually if you apply for another job in Switzerland you are expected to reach out for more money, more responsibility and higher status. To accept a similar or lower position will probably help you to understand connections better. But is accepting a new role, which will not lead to higher position, but will give the employee valuable experience actually a step back? Is wider development really the wrong decision?

Not at all! The acceptance is recent. Someone who is constantly focusing on the top will lose the ability to see what is happening around him or her and will miss important things. Developing new skills will bring long-term success. Someone able to do different tasks within one hierarchical structure will gain a lot of important and diverse experience. Skills development will be easier for such a person in a higher position afterwards. The understanding of the big picture raises. There are of course many cases in which the employee will just be happy with a change: entering an alternative route or facing a new challenge just to get to know something different.

Additionally, not every employee is suitable for a leading position or may not want to be a leader. Everyone needs to find out about themselves where they actually stand in life and where they wish to stand in the future. Someone who feels pressured through higher responsibilities probably won’t be happy with their new position but will recognise it as a too great burden to bear.

Professional career development is possible within a hierarchical structure but it is also possible to learn new skills without necessarily rising through such a hierarchy, they are not mutually exclusive.

What else?

The average employee in Switzerland tends to be realistic. 65 percent expect their work-life-balance to get worse during the next 12 months. In fact, employees in Switzerland often work longer compared to employees in other European countries. A working week normally is around 42 to 45 hours, plus overtime. It’s true that there are more flexible working models in Switzerland right now, but the day starts usually between seven and eight in the morning.

Employees in Switzerland want to grow their professional knowledge and they are confident to achieve this goal: 68 percent of the respondents between the age of 30 and 49 expect to be able to develop new skills during the next year. So Switzerland’s position is right between its neighbors France and Germany. In France only 62 percent expect to be able to develop new skills; the Germans are about 76 percent and therefor far more optimistic.

Permanent learning is the device. It’s an estimate, which the Swiss government has tried to pursue for a long time now, but especially since the leak of the UNESCO 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which has as one of the main goals to make permanent learning possible for everyone. Lifelong learning is an evergreen topic in Switzerland and it’s the focus of politics and society. Regardless of the professional position: everyone can always learn something new. Every time and everywhere. It seems like Swiss employees already have understood that.

What concessions would job applicants in other age groups in Switzerland make for a new job? Get more information here.