Average age for making a change in your career is 31, study finds
Workers are most likely to change their career direction at the age of 31, according to research. For many, this age marks a decade in the workplace, suggesting that today’s workers get a “10-year career itch” before pivoting to a new vocation.
The poll, of 5,000 employed adults, found 26 percent are considering a career change in the not-too-distant future, while 44 percent have already made the leap to something completely new.
One in three made a change as they wanted to pursue a career which offered better opportunities to increase their earnings, while 32 percent longed for a role that they felt more passionate about.
But for 19 percent of career changers, the key motivation was a better work/life balance, with 15 percent taking the opportunity to change things up following redundancy.
For those who have changed or are considering a career move, healthcare, education, and IT have emerged as the most popularly considered industries.
Doug Rode, managing director UK & Ireland at global recruitment specialist Michael Page, which commissioned the research, said: “Changing career can be daunting, and feelings of uncertainty are natural when faced with such a major decision.
“But job hunters should be empowered by our findings, which show 68 percent of people who have made the switch “never looked back”.
“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.
“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.”
There’s always time to change up your path and find a career that puts a spring in your step each day
Doug Rode, Michael Page managing director
The research, conducted via OnePoll, found 54 percent of those surveyed would either consider, or already have, taken on a temporary role to support their switching process.
Four in ten (41 percent) see an interim role as a chance to have greater flexibility, and 27 percent 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 to success is through online courses (25 percent), while many also went back to university (14 percent).
Of those who undertook further training, 42 percent self-funded their studies, while 27 percent received Government funding, and a further 21 percent had their training funded by their current employer.
But for 13 percent of those surveyed, the skills and experiences they had already developed were transferable to their new sector or job function.
For workers still considering a switch, the average time frame for planning a career move is 13 months – showing just how seriously today’s workers are taking their career choices.
And for those who decided to make the move, 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, while 20 percent were unsure if they already have the skills to facilitate the move.
And 15 percent were concerned about being older than their contemporaries in a new field, if they were to make a career change.
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Looking at workplace trends more broadly, nearly a third of workers (31 percent) would consider returning to a role at a previous employer – while 13 percent have already done so.
These “boomerang workers” have done so in order to work closer to home (12 percent), while nine percent felt like going back to a past employer was a “safe” choice.
Doug Rode, from Michael Page, added: “Today’s workers have more agency and confidence than ever before, and 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 prioritising their own fulfilment at work, and are more open than ever to pivoting if something feels more aligned to 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 than ever 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 up your path and find a career that puts a spring in your step each day.”
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