UK workers most likely to change career direction at age 31: Survey

by Oliver Lewis

Workers are most likely to change their career direction at the age of 31, according to new research from the UK.

The poll of 5,000 employed adults in the UK found 26 percent are considering a career change soon, while 44 percent have already done so.

“One in three made a change as they wanted to pursue a career that offered a better salary,” said the poll.

And 32 percent longed for a role that they felt more passionate about.

But for 19 percent, the key motivation was a better work/life balance, with 15 percent looking to change things following redundancy.

For those who have changed or are considering a career move, healthcare, education and IT were the most popular choices.

 “Changing career can be daunting and feelings of uncertainty are natural when faced with such a major decision,” said Doug Rode, MD of UK & Ireland at global recruitment specialist Michael Page which commissioned the research.

Man heading to work. Job hunters should be empowered by the survey’s findings. It shows that 68 percent of people who have made the switch ‘never looked back. MARTEN BJORK VIA UNSPLASH


“Whatever is driving you to seek change, be that the calling to pursue a personal passion or getting back to work following a redundancy, it is important to take the time to properly research and plan out your next steps,” said the poll.

“While this data shows 31 is the national average age to change career, everyone is different.

“You shouldn’t feel under pressure to make decisions about the future of your career until you feel the time is right.”

“Assess your skills, your drivers and your ambition, and then find a career to match.

“There are plenty of opportunities in the market for workers who are open to taking them.”

The research, conducted via OnePoll, found 54 percent would consider or have already taken a temporary role to support their switching process.

Four in 10 see an interim role as a chance to have greater flexibility.

Over a quarter believe that temp/contract opportunities can build broad experience in different industries.

For those who have made a successful career switch, the most popular route was via online courses (25 percent). Many went back to university (14 percent). IAN SHNEIDER VIA UNSPLASH.


Of those who undertook further training, 42 percent self-funded their studies, with 27 percent receiving Government funding.

A further 21 percent had their training funded by their current employer.

But for 13 percent, the skills and experiences they had already developed were transferable to their new sector or job function.

For workers yet to switch, the average timeframe for planning a career move is 13 months.

And for those who decided to change, it then took an average of 10 months to land a job.

For some who have considered switching careers, this critical thinking time has led them to curtail their plans – as 27 percent did not feel financially secure enough to potentially reduce their earnings as a result.

A significant hurdle for 23 percent was a lack of confidence, and 20 percent were unsure if they had the necessary skills.

While 15 percent were concerned about being older than their contemporaries in a new field.

Looking at broader workplace trends, 31 percent would consider returning to a previous employer, while 13 percent have already done so.

These ‘boomerang workers’ went back to be closer to home (12 percent), while 9 percent felt it was a ‘safe’ choice.

“Today’s workers have more agency and confidence than ever before,” said Doug Rode.

“Our new research shows how this is reflected in their career choices.

“The previous blueprint of a linear career path has been largely consigned to history.

“Today’s workers are prioritizing their own fulfillment at work.

“They are more open than ever to pivoting if something feels more aligned with their values.

“It is heartening to see that, even in the current economic climate, swathes of workers are committed to finding their dream career.

“Post-pandemic, we have created a unique landscape where workers have access to so many different opportunities.

“Today, it’s normal to hop between jobs until you land on the right one.

“It’s easier to move between temporary and permanent roles in a bid to try out a new function or industry.

“Opportunity is out there, regardless of what age you are.

“There’s always time to change your path and find a career that puts a spring in your step each day.”

Produced in association with SWNS Talker

Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager


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