Survey: Professional growth must be ongoing process
Constant changes in the labor market make it necessary to develop a career plan, have initiative, and be in continuous training to be competitive in the face of new daily challenges.
A recent survey conducted in Puerto Rico by a pair of professional organizations concluded that that the most effective way for professionals to continue to grow is with good performance, excellent training and letting superiors know what they aspire to accomplish.
The fifth edition of the investigation by Universia, a network of universities in 23 countries in Latin America, and Trabajando.com, a labor community formed by an extensive network of partner sites, asked 459 people about their professional standing, both within organizations and through self-employment.
While 67 percent of participants said they worked for someone else, 33 percent were on their own. The majority of them, 66 percent, said getting ahead depends on performance, and 28 percent said having good contacts is key to professional growth.
Although most people believe that to develop professionally they must have excellent training, 50 percent of respondents said it should be provided by the company, though they admitted they would need to propose it for it to happen.
In contrast, 33 percent said that a training course should be given according to the job they are performing, and 17 percent said it is the responsibility of the employer to offer it and apply it.
“The professional development process must be a constant one and to which both the person and the company should pay great attention. Today, knowledge is constantly renewed, so not being alert to changes in technology and of the job itself cause a state of obsolescence,” said José Miguel Justel, director of Universia Puerto Rico.
This survey involved students of the Ana G. Méndez University System, Sacred Heart University, University of Puerto Rico, Center for Advanced Studies of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, and the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico.
“The academic programs of the Ana G. Méndez University System institutions — Universidad del Turabo, Universidad del Este and Universidad Metropolitana — seek for its graduates to have the tools necessary to become first-class analytical and technical professionals,” said Mayra Cruz, vice president of marketing and student affairs at the islandwide university system.
“That’s why we always want these programs to be at the forefront of the demands of an increasingly competitive labor market. We’re committed to education and share Universia’s initiatives related to learning more about the thoughts and feelings of our students,” she said.
Training based on achievement
The survey also showed that whether it is the person’s initiative or the company’s, the conclusion is that 65 percent of companies are training their employees based on their achievements and professional growth.
Furthermore, 48 percent of participants said they felt “satisfied” and “completely satisfied” with the on-the-job training they are offered. Only 19 percent were “dissatisfied” or “completely dissatisfied” with the training their employer offers them, and 33 percent felt “moderately satisfied” with the trainings given.
However, although most are pleased with the preparation they receive, there are many areas in which they would like to continue growing professionally. For example, 26 percent indicated that they would like to develop in the area of creativity and change, 20 percent wanted to improve in the area of leadership, and 19 percent believed they needed to expand their languages to attain better opportunities. Others said they preferred to expand their knowledge in negotiation, teamwork, management, and public speaking and writing.
“It’s necessary for the employer to be aware of the areas in which they can train the employee for the benefit of all, but the employee has to show interest to grow as a professional,” said Rafael Vélez, director of Santander Universities.