Survey shows big demand for career changes

A new Aviva survey shows high demand for career changes following months of Covid uncertainty and lockdowns and amid recruitment and retention challenges across several sectors.



Two thirds of UK workers plan to make changes to their careers in the next year with flexibility figuring high on people’s lists, according to a new study published by Aviva.

The survey of more than 4,000 adults shows a large demand for change following months of Covid-related uncertainty and lockdowns and comes amid concerns about recruitment and retention in several sectors.  The number of people looking to make changes is an increase of five percentage points compared to the previous study compiled in February 2021 when the UK was still in lockdown.

The intended changes vary greatly, ranging from reducing hours to moving roles within an organisation to choosing a different career path completely.

The number of people planning to set up their own business has increased from 6% to 8% since July 2020 while the proportion planning to get a similar role in a different company has risen from 5% to 8% over the same period.

The proportion of workers planning to retrain or learn new skills now stands at 11%, although this figure increases to 15% among those aged 35-44. A similar situation is true for those wishing to take a different career path: 9% of workers overall, but 14% of those aged 25-34.

The study also shows that employees believe the pandemic has had a positive effect regarding flexibility at work. Two thirds (66%) say recent events have helped companies to improve their approaches to flexible working.

There are certain aspects of employment that people now class as ‘deal-breakers’ when it comes to flexibility.

The option to vary daily hours across the week is the most common ‘deal-breaker’, with one in five workers classing this benefit as “essential” when looking for a role. This is closely followed by the ability to work from home some of the time (18%) – and even the option to work from home all of the time, the request of 15% of employees.

Other deal-breakers include the ability to reduce to part-time hours (14%) and being able to take leave to volunteer for worthy causes (9%).

As a general rule, the survey shows people in the 25-34-year age bracket are most likely to view these benefits as essential to their role, although the request for childcare flexibility is common among the 25-44 age group (23%) and the desire to work from home some of the time is critical for one in five people aged 25-54.

However the need for a “duvet day” is most common amongst under-25s – a deal-breaker for 15% of people in this age group.


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