From education to employment

Seven in ten workers are stuck in the wrong jobs as the UK chooses to boost fitness over careers

Kirstie Mackey, Head of LifeSkills created with Barclays

Fears of being ‘past it’ holding Brits back from making career changes

Seven in ten workers are stuck in the wrong jobs as the prospect of making a career change seems so challenging that they would rather put themselves through a punishing workout, reveals new research from LifeSkills created with Barclays

Workers think a gruelling workout is easier than tackling career development as a third would rather complete a circuits class than work on their CV

To kickstart the UK’s career changing goals, LifeSkills created with Barclays has expanded its programme to help adults of all ages pursue their dream working lives, it has also teamed up with current career changer, Nicola Adams OBE as she moves on from the sporting world, to offer top tips for people who want to go for gold in their job hunt.

Just three in ten UK workers (30 per cent) want to stay in their current career for the long-term, yet the time and effort they think it will take to make a career switch – along with fears of being too old – mean that only a fifth (21 per cent) have ever taken any action to try and move into a job they truly want to do.

This is despite the fact that fewer than one in ten workers (9 per cent) can honestly say they are in their dream job.

In fact, the prospect of tackling their career development is so daunting that over a third of workers (34 per cent) say they would rather put themselves through a circuits class than work on their CV. Likewise, 33 per cent would rather go to a personal trainer than start to confront a job change with a careers advisor, with the majority of 25-54 year old workers (51 per cent) believing that improving their fitness is much easier than bettering their job satisfaction or career prospects.

Today’s up and coming workforce think they can’t change career after 30

Fears of being ‘too old’ to boost their careers are also holding many people back from a happier work life. Almost half (48 per cent) of workers think there is a cut off age to being able to make a career change.

Ironically, this feeling is particularly profound in the younger generation with more than one in ten Gen Z-ers* (13 per cent) thinking they won’t be able to make a career change past the age of 30.

In reality, however, a successful career change can be made at any age. Looking at people over 55 that have made a change at some point in their career, more than four in ten (42 per cent) say they did so over the age of 45.

What’s more, the vast majority of these career changers have reaped the benefits of their decision. In a vote of confidence for pushing yourself to make the switch, seven in ten (71 per cent) say that it led to them to be happy overall, while 60 per cent describe it as the “best thing they’ve ever done”.

To get people moving and help them reach their career goals, LifeSkills created with Barclays has been extended to support everyone in the UK, across all ages. The programme will provide online advice and resources around the biggest areas of need for the workforce currently, such as introducing more workplace wellbeing, how to work flexibly, starting your own business and understanding the future workplace and some of the core skills needed.

LifeSkills has also partnered with Nicola Adams OBE, former Olympic boxer to offer some top tips for people looking to enter a new career arena.

Nicola Adams OBE, former Olympic boxer, said:

“I’ve always made my own opportunities in life, whether that’s pioneering women’s boxing or starting out in a new field. To me, making a career change is all about that mindset: identifying what you want to do, and how to build on the skills you have to make it happen. That’s why I’m getting involved in helping others understand their true potential and get the advice they need to make the most of their careers.”

Kirstie Mackey, Head of LifeSkills created with Barclays said:

“Whether entering a new industry, starting a business or building new skills to equip you for success in the workplace, making a career change can be a daunting process. However, taking the plunge needed to thrive in a rewarding and challenging career is one well worth doing; in fact, over half of career changers say it has improved their mental health. LifeSkills created with Barclays is committed to empowering adults of any age, through practical advice and resources on how to navigate any career move.”

Baroness Karren Brady CBE, Chair of the LifeSkills Advisory Council, said:

“I’m a huge believer in the value of making a career switch, and I’ve learnt something new from every change I’ve made along the way in my career. Not only is making a much-needed career change better for the individual, but having a workforce that feels motivated and rewarded can only bring benefits to UK businesses and the wider economy.”

Methodology: This research was conducted by Opinium between 7th – 10th January 2020. It polled 2,000 UK adults (weighted to be nationally representative) alongside 2,000 adults who are working, looking for work or on a career break.

*Refers to 18-24 year olds

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