Is now a good time to change careers?

The way we view employment has dramatically changed over the past 50 years. Previous generations grew up with a ‘job for life’ mentality. All that has changed, and today’s working population are accustomed to a fluid employment market. Something that involves, especially in response to the ever expanding gig economy, working for different employers over our working lives.

However, it’s the Covid-19 pandemic that has had the biggest impact on the current flexible jobs market. In fact, some sectors, such as travel, retail, and hospitality, have been hit especially hard and will take a considerable amount of time to recover.

Ultimately, this has created a mass unemployment and reduced opportunities for staff working in these areas. Despite the easing of Covid restrictions, we are still experiencing the repercussions of this fall out – across all industries and sectors.

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Could a change of career be the answer?

This is something that many people will consider during their lifetime and not just in times of hardship. In fact, the average person will change careers up to seven times during their working life.

However, according to a recent Covid-19 survey, around 32% of respondents were now considering a change of career as a direct result of the pandemic. And it’s not just those that have been made redundant; there are many who are currently on furlough or working from home that have exactly the same thought going through their head.

Is now really a good time to be thinking about changing careers?

There is no doubt, the last 12 months have been difficult for all of us. Being stuck inside, unable to go away on holiday and with all the doom and gloom plastered all over the media, it’s no surprise that many of us are despondent about our future and wondering whether now is the time to try something new.

On the other hand, even before the pandemic hit, many thousands of people changed careers. However, it is not something to be taken lightly and involves a great deal of thought and family discussion. It can, however, offer many advantages as we will see later.

A trade to the trades?

There are lots of reasons why you might think about a change of career. As we said earlier, you may be currently unemployed or working in an industry that has been decimated by Covid and has dramatically downsized its employment pool.

Or it could just be that you have reached the limit with your present employment and now wish to re-apply your skills and experience to a different industry. In fact, transferring a skill set to a growing industry such as construction, building trades or mechanical and engineering can be a transformative experience.

The challenge of adopting a new career by exploiting current skills and experience is, undoubtedly, life changing for most people. However, as the Covid pandemic starts to re-shape the way many of us do business, this expertise will help drive many businesses out of the current pandemic recession.

And while past generations saw work primarily as a way of paying the bills, today’s working population recognise that a rewarding career can be both enjoyable and fulfilling. This is probably why we are seeing an increasing number of current employees reflecting on their employment situation, with many taking a career change leap of faith.

Unquestionably, lockdown has encouraged people to take a step back and re-assess their current career. For some, it could be a desire for a better work-life balance, something they may have experienced during the past 12 months. For others it could be the need for a new challenge, a less stressful position or even a way of overcoming a lack of enthusiasm in their current role.

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Whatever the reason, there are several steps that can be taken for a successful career change

Here are our five.

  1. Write down all the reasons for wanting to change careers

It could be that you feel your talents are not appreciated and you’re despondent about the future – even when things return to some sort of normality.

After all, what was relevant when you first started work, may not apply today. Priorities change and areas such as job satisfaction may now override promotion, bonuses, and perks of the job etc.  These changing values, needs and priorities could indicate you are ready for a change of career.

If this is the case, it’s time to evaluate your current job satisfaction. One of the best ways is to write down, what you like / dislike about your current job. Then apportion it to specifics such as the company, the type of work, the industry or sector, or the people you work for / with.

After all, we spend a considerable amount of time at work. Under normal circumstances, it amounts to around 35 hours a week or 1,795 hours a year which adds up to 84,365 hours over a working lifetime.

That’s equivalent to spending 3,515 full days at work!

It’s a long time if you’re unhappy or lacking motivation. It, therefore, comes as no surprise to discover that job satisfaction is the number one priority for many of today’s employees. And being unhappy at work is one major reason that many consider a career change.

  1. List your professional skills

Once you’ve done that and you still feel a change of direction is for you, then make a list of your professional skills, work experience and any interests that may have a bearing on future employment (such as charity work / leisure pursuits etc.). Also make sure you include your professional qualifications.

And don’t forget, it’s never too late to retrain in a new field, or update your skills. Unlike in the past, when academic qualifications and professional skills were learned for life, today there is a plethora of flexible online courses that enable you to fit your studies around a busy lifestyle.

  1. Talk to a professional recruitment partner

Professional recruiters, such as ourselves, can help you discover job options based on your skill sets and experience. You may be surprised how marketable you are in the current climate. We can also discuss current / potential vacancies that provide a fit.

  1. Find suitable roles

Once you have identified an industry and / or position that marry with your skill set, experience, and core values, we recommend finding out as much as you can about the role and how easy it will be to transfer your talent to an unfamiliar working environment.

We can help with this too, although we’re sure you will also find plenty of information available on social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or YouTube.

  1. Test it out

Sometimes, there may be an opportunity to test drive a new role, before committing yourself full time. If this is not possible or desirable, have a look to see if there are any first-hand experiences or videos online.

A new direction may be exactly what you need

There are many benefits to changing a career. As we said earlier, we spend around a third of our lives at work. If we are unhappy or unfulfilled then this will, undoubtedly, have an impact on our personal and family life.

Changing careers could also give you a new direction. Rather than restricting yourself to a time-served career, possibly one you have worked in since starting work, now could be the time to apply your skills and experience to a completely new sector.

However, a career change doesn’t have to involve moving out of your current industry. It could, for example, be a horizontal move, taking on a different role or reducing the hours worked. This could also offer you the chance to try some part time or short term contract work. Our specialist team of recruiters can advise you on this, just give them a call.

Of course, as with most changes there can be a reluctance due to the fear of the unknown. A new working environment is always going to be a daunting experience to start with, and yes it will take time to build new relationships.

However, with the help and support of friends, family, and professional recruiters like us, this could be just the right time to broaden your horizons by either transferring your skill set and experience to a different industry or taking on a different role within your current sector. If you would like to discover more about changing careers, give us a call on 0845 478 5009 or email enquiries@multitaskpersonnel.co.uk