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University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies releases whitepaper summarizing career perceptions during the pandemic by income level

By Sharla Hooper

Job security concerns highest for those reporting income levels under $50,000 annually

University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies announces the release of a whitepaper summarizing the perceptions of Americans about job security, career trajectory, and career optimism, distinguishable by income level: “Paychecks and the Pandemic: Perceptions by Income Level.”

Danielle Kearns-Sixsmith, Ed.D., a Scholar-in-Residence with the Center for Educational and Instructional Technology (CEITR) at the University of Phoenix, authored this whitepaper which reviews findings of the Career Optimism IndexTM study to highlight how the impact of the pandemic includes increased disparities between and among income levels of the American workforce, especially among frontline and essential workers.

“The lower the income of an individual, the more likely that person was a frontline worker,” states Kearns-Sixsmith. “While differences in job security, career trajectory, and perceptions of career optimism are evident, so are the solutions for addressing these disparities, including mentoring (network building), program (educational/training) and job skill (resume, job posts, interviewing) engagement. Success is likely based on the perceptions by American workers themselves that they are hopeful and resilient.”

Kearns-Sixsmith is an alum of the University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies. She is the Learning Services Manager for Health & Sciences at The Princeton Review/, teaches in the Department of Education of DeSales University, and is a consultant for STEM education and evaluation.

The full whitepaper is available at the Career InstituteTM webpage or as a direct link here.

About the College of Doctoral Studies

University of Phoenix’s College of Doctoral Studies focuses on today’s challenging business and organizational needs, from addressing critical social issues to developing solutions to accelerate community building and industry growth. The College’s research program puts students in the center of an effective ecosystem of experts, resources and tools to help prepare them to be a leader in their organization, industry and community. Through this program, students and researchers work with organizations to conduct research that can be applied in the workplace in real time.

About the Career Optimism Index™

The Career Optimism Index™ study is one of the most comprehensive studies of Americans’ personal career perceptions to-date. The University of Phoenix Career Institute will conduct this research annually to provide insights on current workforce trends and to help identify solutions to support and advance American careers. For the first annual study, more than 5,000 U.S adults were surveyed about how they feel about their careers at this moment in time, including their concerns, their challenges, and the degree to which they are optimistic about core aspects of their careers, their advancement in the future. The study was conducted among a diverse, nationally representative, sample of U.S. adults among a robust sample to allow for gender, generational, racial, and socioeconomic differences and includes additional analysis of workers in the top twenty media markets across the country to uncover geographic nuances.

About University of Phoenix 

University of Phoenix is continually innovating to help working adults enhance their careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, and Career Services for Life® help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit