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Career Change Survey: Has COVID-19 Prompted us to Change Careers?

COVID-19 is having a substantial impact on our career change decisions, according to findings from findcourses.co.uk’s career change survey. Our survey findings reveal respondents’ top reasons for considering a career change, the necessity of training while switching careers and the investment that professionals are willing to make in education.

Our analysis is based on answers collected from 368 respondents from June 15th, 2020 to August 17th, 2020. Our survey remains open and we plan to continue to track our learners' views on career change.

Headline Statistics: COVID-19 prompts a substantial proportion of respondents to consider making a career change

  • COVID-19 has prompted more than a third of respondents (35%) to decide to make a career change.

  • Somewhat surprisingly, even respondents who are very happy or somewhat happy in their current job roles are considering changing careers (89%).

  • The leading drivers of career change are not related to COVID-19. The most important reason is “Choice - I want to try something new” (57%). This is followed by “Wellbeing - I need more work/life balance” (38%) and “Salary - I am looking to earn more money” (34%).

  • A vast majority of respondents recognise that they need to learn something new in order to change careers (83%). However, more than a third (35%) of respondents are not sure how much training they will need.

  • Career-changers have different budgetary resources to invest in training. Twenty-seven percent of respondents say they are not willing to invest any money to learn the skills they need to switch careers. On the opposite end of the scale, 18% of respondents are willing to invest £500-£1000 and 25% are willing to invest £1000+.

COVID-19 prompts career change decisions across age groups and job levels

COVID-19 has prompted a substantial proportion of respondents (35%) to decide to make a career change.

There are some variations in COVID-19’s impact across age groups. Respondents who are aged 25-34 (41%) and 55+ (43%) are more likely to decide to change careers due to COVID-19 than other age groups (average 31%).

In contrast, there is little variation in COVID-19’s effect on career change decisions by job level. For most job levels, around 31% to 33% of respondents are prompted by COVID-19 to make a career change. Supervisor/ team leader respondents report a slightly higher impact from COVID-19 at 39%.

The result for the owner/ executive/ C-level is an outlier - this outlier result could be due to the small sample size of respondents at this job level.

graph-was decision to change career prompted by COVID-19

graph-was decision to change career prompted by COVID-19- by age

graph-was decision to change career prompted by COVID-19- by job level

Even happy employees are looking to switch careers

Nearly all the respondents in this survey (96%) are considering making a career change. This is not surprising because the people who decide to participate in a career change survey are likely to be thinking about making a move.

Somewhat surprisingly, even those who are very happy or somewhat happy in their current job roles are considering making a career change (89%). This might be explained by the top motivator for making a career change - to try something new - as discussed below.

graph-are you considering making a career change

graph-are you considering making a career change-happy employees

Top reasons to change careers are not related to COVID-19

The most important driver of career change is choice - 57% of respondents say that they want to try something new.

The next top two motivators are “Wellbeing - I need more work/life balance” (38%) and “Salary - I am looking to earn more money” (34%).

COVID-19 appears as a reason with 16% saying that their industry / career path is not as secure post COVID-19 as it was pre COVID-19.

graph-reasons for changing careers

“ I need a more fulfilling role where I know I'll be making a real difference to people and enhance their lives.”

- Respondent quote

“It's time to go for what I actually want to do.”

- Respondent quote

“The job offer did not clear as COVID-19 took over and the company revoked on hiring.”

- Respondent quote

People who want to change careers need more training information

Eighty-three percent of the respondents recognise that they need to learn something new in order to change careers.

However, more than a third (35%) of respondents are not sure how much training they will need.

This suggests that many respondents are still at an early stage of the buyer’s journey, where they have become aware of their learning needs and are still researching their education options.

graph-will you need to learn something new to switch careers

graph-how much training do you think you'll need


Learners have varying price sensitivities

Respondents who are looking to change careers have different budgetary resources to invest in the training they need to switch careers. 

Twenty-seven percent of respondents say they cannot or are not willing to invest any money to learn the skills they need to switch careers. They need a free or government-funded course.

On the other end of the scale, 18% of respondents are willing to invest £500-£1000 and 25% are willing to invest £1000+ to get the skills they need to change careers.

The proportion of respondents who are willing to invest £500 and above tends to increase with their job level. This is unsurprising and is likely due to respondents earning more at a higher job level. Thirty-five percent of entry level respondents are willing to invest £500+ in training compared to 62% of owner/ executive/C-level respondents.

Middle management respondents buck this trend - 59% are willing to spend £500+ for the necessary training. This is higher than for senior management respondents (44%).

There are a variety of available courses to suit different budgets. Learners who are more cost sensitive can see if they are eligible to attend government-funded courses. They could also study free courses to gain some of the skills they need. In this way, they would be able to better decide what other training they might need to switch careers, and hence invest their money accordingly.

Regardless of budgetary resources, people who are considering making a career change should make use of the available resources in order to educate themselves on the training they need.

graph-how much are you willing to invest to learn the skills you need

graph-how much are you willing to invest to learn the skills you need-by job level

Would you like to get the skills that can help you make a career change?

Check out communication skills courses by leading providers - effective communication skills are crucial for career success and are often a top skill that recruiters want!

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About the author

Carol Pang is a Digital Content Editor for findcourses.co.uk. Prior to this, she has 12 years of experience in the corporate and financial sectors. 

She believes that people are fundamental to an organisation’s success, and that effective training can create a motivated and engaged workforce.

carol pang

Last updated: 26 Aug 2020

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