‘Three fifths of people plan career changes as a result of Covid’

A new survey shows increasing interest in changing careers since the pandemic began.

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Three fifths of UK workers (60%) intend to make changes to their careers as a result of the Covid outbreak, an increase of seven percentage points since July 2020 (53%).

The research, conducted as part of Aviva’s latest How We Live report, reveals changes range from the relatively minor, such as learning new skills or gaining further qualifications, to switching career path completely.

The proportion of workers intending to find a completely different vocation has increased from 7% to 9%, while those planning to take on a role which helps others has risen from 6% to 8%, according to a survey by insurance company Aviva.

The survey of around 4,000 adults shows the most popular change which people would like to introduce to their occupation is the ability to work from home [10% say this], with people in London most keen to work remotely [16%] compared to just 5% in Scotland. This figure has stayed static through the pandemic.

The research also reveals some interesting insights in relation to specific age groups. People aged under 25 are most likely to want to make changes to their work plans in the next 12 months as a result of the pandemic, with 87% re-evaluating their careers.

Under-25s are more likely than any other age group to want a role where they can work from home (13%). They are also the age group most likely to be seeking a job which helps others (13%) and to hope to gain more academic qualifications (17%).

Those in the 25-34 age group are most likely to want to retrain (14% compared to 10% across all age groups) or follow a completely different career path (14% vs 9% all ages).

At the opposite end of the working age spectrum, people are even more likely to want to retire as a result of the pandemic than they were in July 2020. One worker in seven (14%) aged 55 and above say the pandemic has escalated their retirement plans to within the next 12 months, compared to 11% in July 2020.

In July 2020 when Aviva conducted a similar survey 6% of people said they planned to turn a hobby into a career, while a further 9% saw their hobby as a way of generating a second income stream. Nearly a year on, 12% of UK adults say they plan to turn a hobby into a second source of income, while 8% hope that a hobby will become a career.

The news comes as HSBC is to move more than 1,200 call centre staff to permanent working from home contracts – equivalent to 70% of the bank’s total call centre workforce.

Meanwhile, a survey of employers by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has found hiring activity picked up at its fastest pace in almost six years in March. Permanent starting salaries increased while temporary salaries also rose at the fastest rates since December 2019. Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said: “This is the first month that we have really seen things getting better for most firms. We are at the bottom of the mountain and starting to climb up again.”

The survey showed that the strongest growth in vacancies was for nursing and care jobs, and in the IT sector, while hospitality businesses were starting to hire again. There was, however, weaker demand in the retail sector.

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