Nearly one in six workers have retrained and are ready to get a new job – but their current employers don’t know yet.

CIPHR, which is an HR software provider, polled more than 1,000 workers to find out how many people have made a career shift since the start of the pandemic by retraining.

Nearly one in three (30%) have either already retrained and changed the industry they work in or have upskilled with a plan to move jobs.

Ties in to XpertHR research

XpertHR’s annual survey of staff attrition corroborates the findings. It also found there’s been an increase of more than 41 percent for staff turnover.

According to XpertHR, the reason for making changes was due to experiencing a slower pace of life during the lockdowns.

“Some respondents also told us that employees who were close to retirement age had brought forward their retirement during lockdown or shortly afterwards.”

However, a key takeaway from the XpertHR report is respondents said they wanted more hybrid or more working. Many employees were leaving their current jobs to work for organisations where they could work on a hybrid basis.

Managers most open to new careers

Senior managers seem the most open to pursuing different career paths, with one in four high earners having already retrained and made a change

This differs with age. Only 9 percent of respondents over 45 retrained and changed careers during the pandemic. But, double this number of 25-to-44-year-olds and nearly a third (31%) of 18-to-24-year-olds retrained and changed jobs. 

Around a quarter of over 55s retrained or changed careers – but because they were made redundant.

For the majority (33%) of workers, earning more money and upskilling are the two most important drivers for career retraining. 

This is followed by improving work-life balance (26%), enjoying a more meaningful career (23%), feeling more valued at work (21%), and reducing work-related stress (21%).

Influenced by the pandemic

The report says the pandemic has impacted people’s career aspirations and flipped many long-standing work-life priorities around. 

Claire Williams is director of people and services at CIPHR. She said: “It makes sense that an individual’s priorities and outlook on life are likely to have changed too. Career ambitions from two years ago may not have the same importance now, and what was once a low priority could – on reflection – be a deal-breaker. Employees and employers are still navigating what this means in the long term.

People working in some of the professions most impacted by Covid-induced restrictions seem more likely to have re-evaluated what they do for a living. 

As many as one in four of those currently working in the arts, entertainment, or recreation (25%) and construction (24%) say they retrained for a different career since March 2020. 

According to the data, however, government and public administration workers (7%) and those employed in the transportation and warehousing sectors (6%) were least likely to have retrained for a different career.

 Claire Williams said employers need to make sure they’re engaging with staff to retain them. She said the most important aspects for managers to focus on are: “ongoing consideration and communication around flexible working arrangements, and clearly defined development routes and opportunities, if they want to increase their chances of retaining their top talent.”






Feyaza Khan has been a journalist for more than 20 years in print and broadcast. Her special interests include neurodiversity in the workplace, tech, diversity, trauma and wellbeing.