9 MIN READ
Approximately 3.1 percent of professionals in the United Kingdom moved from one job to another in the third quarter of 2022. This is one of the highest recorded rates during this time period.
Now, this is not an easy decision for anyone to make but there may never be a better time to change your working life.
Why consider it?
1.) Moving forward is exciting…
Our perspective on the world has changed and we continue to encounter challenges every day. New insight has made us re-evaluate priorities and consider alternatives to the comfort zones and routines we treasured for their ease. We’ve seen the possibilities and wonder why we hadn’t questioned the status quo before. Now that we’ve all had a chance to try a different way of living, why wouldn’t we reinvent our working life?
Personia reported that 38% of employees across the UK and Ireland are doing just that and expect to change careers within the next year. That’s four out of every ten employees.
This rises to a staggering 55% in the 18-34 years category, who typically have had less job stability in the past. It seems there has been a collective realisation – life is short and we need to make the most of it.
This ‘awakening’ is shifting power in our workplaces too. Good employers know that their staff are their biggest assets and treat them accordingly. Those who don’t, face a reckoning as employees begin to hold them accountable for bad practices and poor conditions. Companies that are thriving, do so because their staff feel supported and empowered. Those who don’t face two challenges – to win customers and employees.
2.) Jobs have changed…
In the Victorian era, workers were cogs for predominately factory-based jobs. Schools trained children in the skills demanded by employers – a model still visible today in various forms – think hierarchies, fixed hours and lack of autonomy. Change was seen as difficult and unnecessary.
The previous worldwide experiment with flexible and remote work has proved that there are multiple ways to do most jobs. As the future-of-work paradigm shift continues, options that are sustainable, equitable, and humane will be essential if organisations are to thrive. Employers are making intentional changes to promote inclusion, giving employees an opportunity to reset expectations of what their work involves, as well as how and where they will do it. Hybrid working may be in its infancy but there’s no doubt it’s here to stay.
In 2022, we saw employers who were unable or unwilling to consider reframing work, triggered ‘The great resignation’. The number of job vacancies in the United Kingdom reached a record high of 1.3 million.
These are not just Millennials and Generation Z’s choosing to leave jobs that no longer meet their expectations, but senior level employees and CEOs recognising that climbing the career ladder in its current form, is no longer aspirational.
Some employees are taking it a step further through the anti-work movement, a rebellion against employee exploitation and the widening inequalities the pandemic has caused. Tens of thousands still visit the r/antiwork group daily on Reddit, with 2.3m followers as of December 2022.
How this will reshape the working environment is yet to be seen, but companies are definitely taking note. You, the employee, have power and choice.
3.) Your skills are assets no matter where you work or what you do…
Diversity isn’t constrained to areas like gender and religion, it also applies to life experiences and personality. Google X has been one of the first to recognise and benefit from bringing multi-disciplinary teams together. Recruiting across industries sparks innovation and is good for both business and the workforce as a whole but it’s still a relatively new concept.
Employment taboos are disappearing. Where once a gap on your CV or a few years of job hopping would have set alarm bells ringing, employers are now waking up to the fact that serious organisational changes need employees with different mindsets. Shopping for skills rather than past industry experience widens the potential candidate pool.
Business challenges can be addressed more easily by those who are new to a company and not constrained by knowledge of what’s gone before or how things are expected to be done. Thinking about skills rather than employment history creates opportunities. Going forward we should expect job descriptions to place more emphasis on areas like problem solving, creativity, curiosity and flexibility. What do you bring to the table?
4.) You can always go back…
Finding a new job was traditionally the fastest way to secure a pay rise or gain a promotion, yet often employees followed this path due to necessity rather than desire. Many later returned to their previous companies having discovered that the grass isn’t always greener.
Going back, can signal victory rather than defeat and is undoubtedly a measure of company loyalty. Knowing how you’ll fit with the culture and having realistic expectations about the demands of the job, can go a long way to balancing work and life goals. Returning to a prior employer is a viable way to make progress, especially as you’re more likely to have negotiated your position and salary second time around.
Companies who welcome staff back, know that their new hires will get up to speed quickly and make a positive impact because their skills, though now augmented, are already trusted. Everybody wins.
5.) It’s easier than ever to have a dual career, or a side hustle…
In a world seemingly out of control, taking charge of activities that bring satisfaction has led many to monetise their hobbies, discover new passions and create opportunities that otherwise would never have arisen.
Last year, Beauhurst shared the average age of UK start up founders by region. Across the board it’s the 30-39 age group leading the way, which could mean there are a lot of ‘middle managers’ jumping out of the workforce, but ‘olderpreneurs’ (40+) are not far behind.
Retirement for many has lost its appeal. Work matters and positively impacts all other areas of life, so whether it’s testing ideas by starting an Etsy business, trying some freelance or enrolling in an online course, the time is ripe for reassessing how your ‘day job’ can better support your future hopes.
6.) Age no longer matters…
Skilled workers come in many forms. In the film The Intern, Robert De Niro plays a 70 year old intern working with a much younger boss (Anne Hathaway). No spoilers here, but let’s just say it’s good for all. While the word ‘internship’ might make you think of a recent graduate, it’s now more likely to be used to cover any kind of short-term, non-binding work arrangement and it’s gaining popularity as a way to get people back to work when they’ve taken time out to raise a family or deal with a personal issue.
For many roles, age doesn’t matter but experience, work ethic and years of ‘know-how’, always do. Those re-entering the workforce tend to be team players and are highly motivated to make a positive impact. For them, the opportunity to learn new skills and regain confidence in their existing abilities is a big motivator. Employers gain a boost to diversity and the added bonus of potential mentoring and guidance that comes from hiring someone who has ‘been there, done that.’
At the other end of the scale, bringing young talent into companies offers fresh perspective and new ways to think about business, as well as insights for reaching potentially untouched audiences. Younger generations add diversity now and can be shaped as future leaders. It all comes back to organisations looking beyond traditional recruitment norms, to prioritise cultural fit and skills.
7.) Aim for job satisfaction…
Study after study has shown that the most productive people in a company are those who find the work most enjoyable. HR departments call it job satisfaction and it’s seen when employers provide their teams with engaging work, respect, praise and recognition, fair compensation and motivation. If recent years has taught us anything, it’s that we all need a sense of purpose. Finding that has benefits not just for the job but for mental health and overall well-being too.
Happy employees are productive employees. Deloitte reported that cultivating workforce passions is the best way for companies to sustain their performance and develop resilience for the years ahead, so it’s great news for both employer and employee.
8.) Find a job you love and you’ll never work again…
Being happy is the first step to doing anything successfully. Those who are most fulfilled are often working in or creating businesses that play to their strengths and the rise in kitchen table entrepreneurs over the last two years, has shown an appetite for making, rather than taking jobs.
Many of today’s household names started as hobbies. Companies like eBay, Harley Davidson and Spanx all started because their founders felt passionate about a cause and even Amazon has come a long way from the online bookseller it once was.
Those with ideas to share with the world should look for ways to test their thinking through freelance work, volunteering or running it as a side project before giving up their day jobs. Where you’ve been (i.e. your career so far), doesn’t have to dictate where you’re going.
9.) What do you want others to know about you?
Gone are the days when CVs were the only way to communicate your worth. According to Kinsta 87% of recruiters now use LinkedIn during the hiring process and many are also influenced by what they can find on social media. Potential recruiters get more of an idea of a candidate in a 60-second video than from a lengthy resume.
Companies like Unilever are adding body language to the mix, by tapping into the power of AI to match graduates to roles within their businesses. Applicants are asked to film their answers to questions that pop up on their computer screen. The videos are then scanned by algorithms, which analyse the words used, how confidently the sentiment is expressed and how concisely the argument is presented. Such holistic recruiting makes it easier than ever to show your best self.
10.) Stay in your old job but make sure it works for you…
Not everyone wants to a new career. In uncertain times, the security of a known employer can provide stability, yet even in this scenario there’s scope to improve working life. Renegotiating responsibilities and pay to ensure the resignation of colleagues doesn’t create excess workloads might be a first step. There could also be opportunities to mentor new hires, gain additional skills and find other opportunities as inevitable restructuring takes place.
As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus is credited with saying, “change is the only constant in life” – but it’s often the response to change which separates success from failure.
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