In the face of a growing cost-of-living crisis, over a third (35%) of Brits are actively exploring career changes to enhance their earning potential, according to recent research conducted by Forbes Advisor, a leading price comparison and financial guidance website.
The study sheds light on the profound impact of economic challenges on the workforce, with more than half (52%) of individuals in the creative sector considering a switch – the highest percentage among all industries.
The research, encompassing a wide spectrum of professions, shows that 30 percent of the working population, equivalent to 9.9 million Brits, has experienced changes in their employment status over the last three years, whether through leaving their jobs, returning to education, or retiring.
Among age groups, the study reveals that the younger demographic, aged between 18-34, is more dynamic in career changes, with half (50%) having switched professions in the last three years – a rate significantly higher than the national average of 30 percent.
Regional differences also play a role, with London witnessing the most movement, where 40 percent of residents changed their working status since 2020. In contrast, the South East and North West of England experienced the least job movement, with around a quarter (25%) of individuals in these regions seeing changes in their employment status.
Driving Forces Behind Career Changes
The research identifies key motivations behind the surge in career changes. Increasing earning potential is the primary driver, cited by 13 percent of respondents, while a similar percentage (13%) attribute their career switch to poor remuneration in their current industry. The cost-of-living crisis is a significant factor, with 12 percent of respondents mentioning that rising living costs have rendered their current pay insufficient to cover monthly expenses.
Industries at the Epicenter
Industries such as marketing, advertising, and public relations are witnessing the highest rate of job changes, with almost two-thirds (62%) of professionals in these fields altering their job status in the last three years. Energy and utilities (60%), recruitment and HR (59%), charity and voluntary work (58%), and environment and agriculture (57%) follow closely on the list.
Job Market Volatility Amid Economic Challenges
The volatility in the job market aligns with the challenging economic landscape, marked by a surge in business failures, the fastest since the 2008 financial crisis. Factors contributing to this trend include higher interest rates, increased operating costs, and reduced consumer spending.
As Brits consider alternative career paths, the research identifies IT (12%) and artificial intelligence (11%) as the most lucrative options. The IT sector, in particular, is anticipated to offer well-paid opportunities in the coming months and years.
Despite the potential for lucrative opportunities, the creative industry faces challenges, with 29 percent of respondents avoiding the sector due to poor pay. This finding aligns with recent struggles in securing investment for creative endeavors.
The Changing Landscape
Kevin Pratt, a business expert at Forbes Advisor, notes, “There has been a long-term trend away from the ‘job for life’ culture that characterised the workplace for previous generations, and this has been given fresh impetus by the cost-of-living crisis.” He emphasises the changing societal norms around job loyalty, stating that a volatile workplace can be a positive sign, indicating adaptability to market demands.
In conclusion, as the cost-of-living crisis continues to impact households, many Brits are prioritising higher income, leading to a significant shift in career dynamics and choices. The evolving job market, influenced by economic challenges and technological advancements, prompts individuals to explore new avenues in pursuit of financial stability.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.