Totaljobs: Two million UK workers to switch sectors before Christmas

Published by Scott Challinor on October 10th 2021, 11:11am

After several months of labour shortages brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, new research from Totaljobs forecasts that candidate activity will increase, with roughly two million workers estimated to be looking to change jobs before Christmas.

Analysis from Totaljobs’ Career Change Tracker - alongside surveys of 4,500 people on the Totaljobs database plus a further 2,000 workers via Opinium - indicates that 26 per cent of UK workers are actively seeking new roles, while six per cent have already handed in their notices.

Meanwhile, 75 per cent of jobseekers say that they are more likely to consider working in a different industry in the aftermath of the pandemic. Since 2015, the Career Change Tracker attributes 52 per cent of job changes as being cross-industry, according to analysis of 4.2 million employment switches.

For those who have already made the switch across sectors, just 18 per cent of them say that they plan to move back to the industry they worked in before.

A quarter of UK workers [25 per cent] are planning to change jobs in the next two years according to the figures, with an estimated 3.5 million planning to move into another sector. The construction industry is set to see the largest exodus, with 49 per cent looking to change jobs, while 41 per cent working in administration and 38 per cent in IT are also looking for new roles.

Delving into the reasons behind a career change, over half [57 per cent] reported that work-life balance was the main motivation, followed by want of a higher salary [52 per cent] and a desire to learn new skills [38 per cent].

76 per cent of respondents said that since the pandemic, work-life balance had become more of a priority to them, laying bare the impact that the health crisis has had on people's working lives.

Looking into those who have already made the cross-industry switch during the pandemic, 34 per cent of people who began working in a different sector said that they were driven into the move out of necessity. 24 per cent said that wanting to simply do something different was their principal reason, with the same percentage of people citing work-life balance as their main reason. 21 per cent said that not enjoying their role was the main driver behind a decision to look for a career change, while want of a higher salary, desire to acquire new skills and a lack of available roles in their previous industry all returned 19 per cent.

While 52 per cent of job changes since 2015 have involved a move across sectors according to Totaljobs, the military saw the biggest exodus of personnel during this time with 47 per cent moving into new sectors. This was closely followed by the advertising industry [42 per cent], the public sector, agriculture and farming, and charity [all 41 per cent].

On the other hand, the sector which enjoyed the best job retention rate was HR, with 64 per cent more likely to remain in the industry when securing a new job. HR was closely followed in the reckoning by the design industry and IT [both 62 per cent].

Despite holding some of the highest percentages of the last five years of people leaving for other industries, the public sector and policing staff ranked highly in terms of loyalty, with staff staying with the same employer for 8.9 years on average. Arts and Entertainment employees stayed in the same role for 8.8 years on average, while at the other end of the scale marketing and PR firms see staff remain with the same company for the shortest amounts of time [5.5 and 5.6 years, respectively].

Commenting on the findings, Totaljobs CEO, Jon Wilson, said that they provided evidence that the career ladder was no longer linear for many individuals, with role changes and whole career shifts becoming more of a regularity.

“Our research shows that for many people, the career ladder isn’t so linear anymore; career shifts and job changes are commonplace”, Wilson said.

“With Covid-19 changing our day-to-day working lives, people are increasingly searching for work-life balance, flexibility or simply for a job they can get more satisfaction out of, and they’ll look to other industries to find it.”

With job vacancies over the summer of 2021 having been at a record high, Wilson urged employers that are looking to recruit fresh talent to ensure that they are doing the basics right when it comes to attracting prospective employees, as well as re-evaluating the career opportunities and enrichment programmes they offer.

“With a record number of job vacancies this summer, many industries who had to hit pause on their hiring in the height of the pandemic are now experiencing labour shortages, and these are likely to continue in the coming months. Businesses with an urgent hiring need should make sure they’re getting the basics right when attracting talent. Job adverts that include essential pieces of information like a clear job title, location, salary and ways of working are more likely to win applications.

“Equally, employers must be clear about what their business is bringing to the table beyond the remit of a role, whether that’s remote working, wellbeing programmes or training initiatives. Consider how you can attract the three quarters of people considering a career change and pitch the unique benefits of your industry – especially if you can offer candidates something their previous sector couldn’t.”

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Authored By

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
October 10th 2021, 11:11am

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