Career Optimism Index® - University of Phoenix

Last Updated: 03/12/2024

Relational Map coming soon. Learn more about the work we’re doing with AI and view our example prototypes here.


In March 2022, the University of Phoenix launched the University of Phoenix Career Institute, a research center within its College of Doctoral Studies. The institute conducts research, shares insights to inform problem-solving, and collaborates with organizations to break down barriers that Americans face in their careers.

The Career Optimism Index® study is one of the most comprehensive studies of Americans’ personal career perceptions. In spring 2021, the University of Phoenix released the results of its first annual Career Optimism Index, a comprehensive study measuring working Americans’ attitudes toward their careers to help identify barriers to career advancement and highlight solutions that can help American workers accelerate their careers.

More than 5,000 U.S. adults were surveyed about how they currently feel about their careers, the challenges they face, and their degree of optimism about the future of their careers. The study was conducted among a diverse sample of U.S. adults and included additional analysis of workers in the top 20 media markets across the country to uncover geographic nuances.

Among the study’s key findings:

  • Americans remain optimistic about the future of their careers even during the COVID pandemic. Seven in 10 Americans feel prepared to search for a job right now if they have to, and roughly eight in 10 believe they are highly employable, adapt quickly to new work situations, and are resilient when facing career challenges.
  • The pandemic has intensified persistent barriers that keep Americans from career advancement. That means workers need concrete support to translate their optimism into future career outcomes. One in three Americans believe that COVID-19 has taken their career off course. Both emotional and structural barriers impact career progression. Automation is top of mind.  Americans are worried about losing their jobs and are stressed about their careers.
  • Despite optimism and confidence in themselves, 42 percent of Americans do not see a clear path forward for advancing their careers. More than half need help connecting with others in their current or desired field. This includes finding a mentor advocate or seeking out educational programs. American workers want additional support and resources to translate their optimism into future career outcomes. American workers rank professional networking and skill development as top needs for advancing their careers.

The University of Phoenix Career Institute has committed to fielding the Career Optimism Index every year.  Results will be shared broadly to help inform societal solutions to career advancement and help support American careers.

Request an Edit

Have something to add or refine? Your input in this work matters greatly and we look forward to reviewing your additions

Organizations (275)

Initiatives (309)

Topics (93)

Skip to content