In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, three-fifths of staff have stated their intention to make a change to their career which is an increase compared to responses from last summer. 

New research from Aviva, an insurance company, has found that the number of workers planning career changes has increased since July 2020.

In the summer months, just over half of respondents (53 per cent) stated they intended to change their career, in some form, due to COVID-19. However, this has since increased to three-fifths of staff (60 per cent).

The career ambition which proved to be the most popular amongst employees was finding a role that allows them to work from home – with 10 per cent of workers in July 2020 and February 2021 stating this. This suggests that being able to work remotely, from their homes, has been well-received by employees who wish to retain this mode of working.

Another priority for workers was to retrain or learn new skills. As the pandemic has accentuated skills gaps in organisations and professionals, there has been a marginal increase in the number of workers who want to make learning a part of their career change – rising from 9 per cent in July to 10 per cent this year.

Other notable shifts include the number of workers who desire to pursue a completely different career path (rising to 9 per cent this year) and staff who want to find a new role within the same organisation (6 per cent).

People aged under 25 were most likely to want to make changes to their career over the next year with 87 per cent re-evaluating their careers as a result of the pandemic.

Conversely, COVID-19 has also encouraged many workers to accelerate their retirement plans. One in seven workers aged over 55 (14 per cent) stated that this would be occurring over the next year.

Dan Harding, CEO of Sign In App, a visitor management app, discussed how it is crucial for businesses to be mindful of employees’ needs, especially when it comes to work models:

Any business owner or manager expecting employees to flock back to the office once restrictions are lifted and slide straight back into the traditional nine to five is in for a serious shock. It just isn’t going to happen. The working world is facing a complete reset – and companies need to prepare now.

Employees may have been compelled to Work from Home (WFH) during the pandemic but for many it has opened their eyes to a new way of working. Individuals can manage their time to fit in with other demands and, with the right approach, productivity and wellbeing can improve.

This is a once in a generation opportunity to create a working culture that truly meets the needs of both employees and employers.

*This research was taken from Aviva’s report ‘How We Live’ which surveyed 4,000 adults in the UK.  Censuswide Research carried out this research on behalf of Aviva between 10 – 15 February 2021.