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Career Cushioning: What is it and Are You Doing it?

Last Updated: February 4, 2024By

What is career cushioning and are you doing it? Well it seems that over a third of employees in the UK are embracing career cushioning strategies. A significant 37% of professionals have taken proactive steps to prepare for a potential job search as a precautionary measure, according to recent findings. The turbulent economy is cited as the main reason behind this mindset by three-quarters of those surveyed. To cushion their career prospects, individuals have adopted various tactics such as closely monitoring the job market, updating their CVs, and expanding their professional networks.

Career Cushioning

The concept of career cushioning, which involves actively safeguarding one’s career to soften the impact of any unforeseen job challenges, has gained prominence amid the UK’s ongoing precarious economic conditions. The survey, conducted among 2,000 white-collar workers, revealed that the leading factors driving individuals to employ career cushioning strategies are a perceived lack of job security within their companies (72%), the volatile economic climate (55%), internal changes within their organisations (45%), and low job satisfaction (33%).

The awareness among professionals about the difficulties faced by organisations due to the challenging economic conditions, leading to the adoption of career cushioning as a protective measure. He advises employers to prioritise staff retention to prevent employees from seeking alternative roles. Simultaneously, he advises professionals to proactively address job security concerns by taking simple steps such as updating their LinkedIn profiles, signing up for job alerts, and refreshing their CVs.

Among the career cushioning tactics employed by workers, monitoring the job market emerged as the most common approach, with 66% of respondents engaging in this practice. Tidying up CVs followed closely, with 43% of professionals taking this step to enhance their employability. Other strategies included networking more (36%), actively applying for jobs (33%), upskilling and training (30%), seeking guidance from career coaches or recruiters (22%), and pursuing side-hustles (15%).

Interestingly, a quarter of professionals admitted that exploring the job market and assessing their own skills led them to appreciate their current employers more, while a fifth discovered that their current employers offered better compensation than the market average.

Career Cushioning

Experts emphasise that career cushioning shouldn’t always be viewed negatively by employers, as it often leads to employees upskilling, increasing determination to succeed, and engaging in valuable networking activities that benefit the business. He also notes that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, as employees researching opportunities elsewhere may realise that their current job holds more advantages.

In conclusion, the prevalence of career cushioning tactics highlights the need for professionals to be proactive in protecting their careers amidst uncertain economic conditions. By staying informed, updating their skills, and expanding their networks, individuals can navigate potential job challenges and make informed decisions about their career paths.

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