More than 50% of workers want a career change

5th January 2016


The majority of working Britons wish they were on a different career path but many fear they are now too old to change direction.

Research from Standard Life found that 54% of workers wish they could change career, rising to 72% for those aged between 25 and 34.

However some 11% admitted they worry about being too old to make the move, while the same amount said that despite their reservations about their current role they value the stability.

A further 10% said they would not know where to start in terms of changing jobs while 10% also added that a lack of confidence is also a key reason for not taking the plunge.

The insurer’s survey also found that 84% of respondents were at least somewhat satisfied in their job. The top happiness drivers cited included having job security, making a difference to people’s lives, feeling valued and working with people they consider friends as well as colleagues.

But for many it would seem that the desire to strike out on their own is a reason for thinking about a career change.

Almost six in 10 UK workers, at 57%, have considered starting their own business, with those between the ages of 25 and 34 most motivated to do so.

Wanting to be your own boss is the biggest driver for setting up or thinking about setting up a business with 54% of workers saying they have had to miss a significant personal event due to work commitments.

Creating a stable future

But when it comes to what motivates workers, it seems we tend to change as time goes by.

Standard Life found that career progression is considerably more important to those under 34, as cited by 16% of people compared to 4% to those over 34. In addition salary becomes less important as we pass the 50 milestone.

A quarter of people said that pushing for a promotion is the time when they most likely to prioritise work over their personal lives. In contrast, when it comes time to start a family, 43% said this is when having the right work-life balance is most important.

The desire for our job to help set us up for the future is clear; a pension is one of the most essential employee benefits, rising significantly in importance as people progress through their career: 39% of 18 to 24 year olds highlighted this as an important benefit, doubling to 84% for those over the age of 55.

Commenting on the study, Julie Hutchison, consumer finance expert at Standard Life, said: “As we go through our lives, what motivates us and makes us happy in our job changes. For some, the priority is moving up the career ladder, for others, having the security to support their family.

“As well as making us happy now, our career is also a way to ensure our plan for the future is on track – which is why it’s good to see so many people view their pension as an important benefit at work.”

John Lees, author of How To Get A Job You Love, added: “The fact that over half of us wish we could change careers is really interesting – the reasons why we want to move will depend a lot on the stage of our career, whether it’s aiming for a higher salary or doing something we feel passionate about.

“While it is not always easy, change is certainly possible. But before making the leap it’s good to reflect on what it is that would make us satisfied in a new role, or what’s making us unsatisfied right now, so that a change, whether its job, company or career, does give us what we want.

“When it’s time to make the change, there are lots of people and resources that can help with the process – and doing your homework is important.”

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