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University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies releases whitepaper on aligning employees and employers’ career expectations

By Sharla Hooper

Authors Dr. Stella Smith and Dr. TaMika Fuller highlight 2022 Career Optimism Index® study findings and implications

University of Phoenix College of Doctoral Studies has released a new whitepaper, “Misalignment of employees and employers’ career expectations and ways to align them,” a collaboration between authors Stella Smith, Ph.D., associate research chair, Center for Educational and Instructional Technology (CEITR), and TaMika Fuller, DBA, College of Doctoral Studies alumna.

Drawing upon data from the 2022 University of Phoenix Career Institute® Career Optimism Index® study, the whitepaper focuses on the misalignment of employees and employers regarding career expectations related to satisfaction with the amount of pay received, opportunities for improving skills, and having advocates and tools to succeed.

“Awareness of misalignment of employee and employer beliefs is critical because it can lead to job insecurity for employees,” states Smith. “Employers can impact these misaligned expectations by supporting employees though accessible opportunities for professional development and upskilling.”

“Fair compensation for work ultimately reduces organizational expenditures by increasing employee retention,” adds Fuller. “Although it seems that opportunities to access tools to success are available, employers might need to more intentionally promote those resources to employees.”

Smith is the associate university research chair for the Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research (CEITR) and an associate faculty member in the College of Doctoral Studies at the University of Phoenix. A qualitative researcher, her scholarly interests focus on several areas including the experiences of faculty and administrators of color in higher education; African American females in leadership in higher education; access and inclusion of underserved populations in higher education; and P–20 educational pipeline alignment. Smith earned her doctorate in educational administration with a portfolio in Women and Gender Studies from The University of Texas at Austin. 

Fuller is an economics professor at a community college in Texas and has been teaching economics and business-related courses for 17 years. She earned her doctorate in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

The full whitepaper is available at the University of Phoenix Career Institute® 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 enhance American careers and create equity in the workplace. For the second 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 and their 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. This year, the study also explored insights from 500 U.S. employers who are influential or play a critical role in hiring and workplace decisions within a range of departments, company sizes and industries to provide comparison between the workforce and those who hire, train and retain them.

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