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If you’ve got big ambitions for your career, but you feel like you’ve hit a barrier, you aren’t alone. In 2020, research from accreditation body Investors in People found that 23% of people in the UK are unhappy in their roles. Worldwide, the 2020 Randstad Workmonitor Report found that 26% didn’t indicate job satisfaction. But there can be a brighter future ahead: if you’re looking to add new energy and direction to your career, here are our tips to help you get there. 

If you believe you can do it, apply for it

If you’ve found a role or a promotion you want, but you’re missing one of the criteria, ask yourself: do you think you’d excel in the role anyway? If the answer is yes, then apply. In studies from the Harvard Business Review, only 12.4% of men and 9.7% of women who hadn’t applied for a job believed the missing qualification would actually affect their performance.

Show that you’re a strong candidate, and it may turn out that the criteria you’re missing isn’t essential or could be picked up on the job. Just take it from Barclays UI Developer Anastasia Malkova, a former air hostess who taught herself basic coding between flights. Even though she didn’t have every skill straightaway, Anastasia took the leap and applied to launch her tech career with us. Today, she’s constantly picking up new things in her role: “I still have a lot to learn in the tech space – I always will as it develops every day – but Barclays have created a safe environment for me to do so.”

As one of our Managing Directors, Piyali Mitra, puts it: “If you believe in yourself and you’re willing to go that extra mile, the possibilities are limitless.”

Identify your skill gaps and fill them

To help with your next career move, have a think about your current skillset and identify where there’s room for you to grow. Once you’ve spotted any gaps, be proactive about trying to fill them – such as taking on different kinds of tasks in your role and challenging yourself, or seeking out courses that will help you pick up a new skill altogether.

At Barclays, our colleagues have plenty of opportunities and resources to build up their skills. As current Technology Analyst Joshua Nuesca says, “Upskilling is heavily encouraged here. We have access to thousands of on-demand courses, regularly refreshed with new technologies.” Whether it’s training offered by your business, a senior colleague who could mentor you, or online training libraries like our own public hub Barclays LifeSkills, how can you upskill?

Ask for support and advice

 It might be that taking the next step in your career feels out of reach for other reasons – be it financial restrictions or work/life balance. Maybe you’d like a new qualification, but you’re worried about course fees or about balancing study time with caring for your family. In that case, could you talk to your employer or to the course provider to find out what part-time options and financial support are available? Ask for advice before you pass on the opportunity, because you never know what arrangements might be possible.

For instance, at Barclays, we offer degree programmes and the chance to gain professional qualifications, with courses tailored around both full-time roles and family commitments. Here’s Natalie, who gained a degree whilst acting as a full-time carer: “I’m now studying for a BA (Hons) in Business Management and Leadership, and I’ve got a brilliant support network around me. They also support me with the other huge part of my life – caring for my mum.”

Think about whether you’re heading in the right direction

In some roles, it might seem like there’s only one traditional path for promotion – a logical chain of jobs you move through. It’s important to think carefully though about whether that next role is really what you want. Imagine yourself in the role and think about whether the day-to-day detail of the work excites you. Or, as Global Head of Markets Operations Technology, Augusta Sanfilippo, says: “Always think about the passion that you have and recognise what gets you motivated, because that’s going to drive everything you do.”

Explore all the options within your business, if you can, to get a sense of what you’re really interested in. A good place to start is by reaching out to other teams and asking if you could shadow them, which will give you a much better picture of the different career paths available. We help our colleagues to explore here to enable them to do that: as current Barclays Risk Apprentice, Alistair Caddy, says, “Exposure to various areas of the bank really allows you to plan out your ideal career path.”

At Barclays, there are so many opportunities for you to have a career that you’re passionate about – wherever you are in the world. From apprentices to senior leaders, we help our colleagues to grow their skills, achieve their goals and explore different possibilities.


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