What are people’s biggest regrets about their careers?

Staying at the same job for too long among top three: global survey

What are people’s biggest regrets about their careers?

Business strategy


More than six in 10 employees have work-related regrets, with pay-related regrets the most common.

A survey by Resume Now among 1,000 employees in the US, UK, France, and Germany found that career regrets peak at mid-career, with Millennials having the highest number of employees with regrets (70%).

The breakdown by generation is:

  • Gen Z (61%)
  • Millennials (70%)
  • Gen X (69%)
  • Baby Boomers (52%)

Reasons behind career regrets

Most respondents cited not asking for a pay increase (60%) as their biggest regret. Others cited:

  • Not prioritising work-life balance (59%)
  • Staying at a job too long (58%)
  • Not negotiating salary when taking a job (58%)
  • Not getting a college degree (53%)
  • Not speaking up in a meeting (53%)
  • Not asking for a promotion (51%)

Half of the respondents said they regret in their chosen career, while 44% said they regret not making a full career change, according to the report.

Nearly half (46%) of the respondents also said they regret being a remote worker, as the findings come at a time when work arrangements could impact pay and career progression.

This year, more than half of employees (55%) said they plan to learn new skills, reflecting recent upskilling trends as new technologies take over workplaces.

Nearly half also said that they plan to find a new job (45%) this year. Others said their career resolutions are:

  • Pursuing professional development (26%)
  • Growing a professional network (25%)
  • Getting a new professional certification (23%)
  • Asking for a raise (21%)
  • Making a career change (19%)
  • Finding a remote job (18%)
  • Getting a second job (16%)
  • Attending at least one professional networking event (16%)

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