Two-thirds of workers considering making changes to careers, poll finds

Plans range from reducing working hours to completely new roles, with experts saying people want a ‘more progressive’ approach to work

Two-thirds of UK workers plan to make changes to their careers over the next 12 months, research has found, with experts saying many are looking for a “more progressive approach towards working”.

A poll of 4,000 UK adults, commissioned by Aviva, found 64 per cent planned to make changes to their working lives next year, either by finding a new role, changing the hours they work, or switching careers entirely.

This was up five percentage points compared to February this year, and indicated that some 22 million workers across the economy could be looking to do something different.

The research found a wide variety of changes that employees planned to make. For many this meant increasing flexible working: one in 10 workers (10 per cent) planned to find a role that allowed them to work from home, while similar proportions said they planned to reduce their working hours (9 per cent).

Other respondents were looking to make bigger changes: 9 per cent planned to find a completely new career path, while the proportion of people planning to set up their own business has increased from 6 to 8 per cent since July 2020.

Similarly, the proportion planning to get a similar role in a different company has risen from 5 to 8 per cent over the same period.

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Nicki Charles, retail managing director at Aviva, said that while flexible working had been growing since before the pandemic, the last two years had “expedited the process”.

“While the pandemic has been devastating in so many ways, people are seeking out silver linings and a more progressive approach towards working is just one of these outcomes, she said.

“After working at home for many months, some people will inevitably take time to adjust to the return to the workplace. But hybrid working enables the best of both worlds and doubtless is here to stay.”

The research also found many employees were looking to improve their skills over the next year. More than one in 10 workers said they planned to retrain or learn a new skill (11 per cent), increasing to one in six (15 per cent) among those aged 35 to 44.

Similarly, 9 per cent of all ages polled said they planned to gain a new academic qualification over the next year.