Almost 47% of UK professionals would like to change their career.

Changing career is something which most of will have to undertake more than once in our working life.  Recent research conducted by the London School of Business and Finance (2015) shows a large number of professionals would like to make a career change. The research shows a range of responses by city throughout the UK. In London (55%) of workers want to change their career, with (45%) stating they wanted to do so within the next two years.

Changing Career - Lady being interviewed

Cardiff workers (68%) however are satisfied with their careers, the highest in the survey. Regionally, professionals in London and Scotland are the most likely to regret choosing their careers.

Changing career by age: 66% of Millennials (people aged 18 – 34) wish to do so. However, this is not replicated (not unsurprisingly) for those over 55, with just 19% wanting to change their career.

Table 1 Cities – Would you like to change career?
CityYesNoCityYesNo
Edinburgh51%49%Glasgow58%42%
London55%45%Birmingham50%50%
Cardiff32%68%Manchester47%53%
Belfast45%55%Southampton47%53%
Brighton54%46%Bristol47%53%
Norwich52%48%Liverpool41%59%
Newcastle51%49%Nottingham41%59%
Sheffield38%62%Plymouth36%64%
Leeds33%67% 

Reasons for Changing Career

With such large numbers seemingly wishing to change careers why is there not an avalanche of vacant positions on an ongoing basis? Some of the reasons the research highlighted why people wouldn’t wish to change career is:

  • That (38%) of respondents are satisfied with their current job (main reason)
  • Lack of financial security around changing careers (29%) of those surveyed
  • Uncertainty about what to switch to (20%)
  • Fear of failure (15%)
  • Time investment (14%)
  • Disruption to family or social life (12%)

By UK region, Northern Ireland (44%), Yorkshire (40%) and Wales (39%) of respondents do not wish to change career. By gender, (25%) of men and (22%) of women regret choosing their career.

In considering the main reasons why people would wish to make a career change the survey highlights the following main drivers as:

  • Increased salary prospects (39%)
  • Work-life balance (35%)
  • Improved job satisfaction (34%)
  • Perceived status linked to a new career (14%)

From an occupational psychologist’s perspective the survey raises many issues. If many staff are wishing to change careers what does it say about the effectiveness of organizations? Are employees satisfied with their careers and if not what are the causes? How might this fit into the issues regarding productivity of UK workers? The survey does highlight some of the reasons such as work-life balance. What is not clear with the research is if there is an urban / rural split with career satisfaction. If we think of N Ireland, Yorkshire and Wales they have large rural areas and perhaps living in these areas but working in the cities, is something that is of importance to respondents.

To get a copy of the survey visit https://www.lsbf.org.uk/press-and-media/news-about-lsbf/2015/september/lsbf-careers-report-finds-that-47-of-uk-workforce-want-a-career-change

Dominic McCanny is a Chartered Psychologist (Occupational) and provides advice on job satisfaction, career guidance and organisational change.