50% of Employees Regret Their Career Choices – How Can You Help Your Students Pick the Right Career?

A recent survey conducted by ResumeNow found 65% of workers suffer from career regrets with some of the respondents’ greatest regrets being: not asking for a pay increase (60%), not prioritizing work-life balance (59%), and staying at a job for too long (58%).

But the most alarming finding was that 50% of those surveyed regret being in their chosen career. How can you help your students choose the right career path and hopefully avoid this regret down the road?

Heather O’Neill, a career expert at Resume Now, has valuable advice to help people stay on track toward a fulfilling professional journey.

  • Take a proactive approach: Taking action fosters fewer regrets. It’s those moments of inaction, like hesitating to seek a raise or change unsatisfying roles, that breed the most significant remorse. A shift toward action—even in small measures like voicing opinions in meetings—can lead to significant positive changes in one’s career trajectory.
  • Regret reduction is key: While eliminating career regrets entirely may be unattainable, minimizing them is within our grasp. Embrace opportunities and challenges as they arise, instead of letting small roadblocks grow into much larger obstacles.
  • Be your #1 advocate: The most reported regrets—not negotiating for higher pay, neglecting work-life balance, and overstaying in roles—signal areas where employees should pay careful attention. Setting up periodic conversations with management and regularly communicating career needs will help workers emphasize their value and advocate for their best interests.
  • Demographic divergence: Intriguingly, career regrets peak early to mid-career across genders, with Gen Z and Millennials expressing a particular desire for better work-life balance. Understanding the most common age range for career regret to hit is an important step toward prevention.
  • Overcome your fears: For those apprehensive about initiating change, whether it’s fear of criticism or disruption of the status quo, keep in mind that the risk of inaction often outweighs the potential for negative outcomes associated with change.

Here is a link to the full survey results: https://www.resume-now.com/job-resources/careers/career-regrets