It’s hard to believe that just a generation ago, the job you had was generally your career for life. Now, statistics indicate the average person will change careers five times, and the national average tenure in any single job is three years four months.
This voluntary volatility is driven by a host of reasons, not least of which is the realisation the career you chose in early adulthood no longer aligns with your personal values.
So how do you go about making a career change, and what if it’s in the complete opposite direction?
Experts argue there are six main reasons most people consider a career shift:
· Frustration and disillusionment
· Redundancy or business closure
· Working in a diminishing industry
· Realignment of personal/spiritual values-midlife re-evaluation
· Dislike of the organisational culture
Furthermore, anecdotal evidence indicates women may be more prone to re-evaluating their career choice. FastCompany recently reported 73 per cent of women are not just wondering whether they should not leave their job but are pondering changing industries entirely.
The top reasons cited include: the need for more pay, the desire to find a career with a mission they believe in, and burnout.
But the real likelihood is the shifting roles and priorities of women across their lifetime plays a critical role in reconsidering a career choice, while the growth of remote working and flexible work hours also has an impact.
Recent statistics indicate women account for almost half the workforce (47.4 per cent) but are far more likely to be represented in the part-time category than men. Over two-thirds (68.2 per cent) of all working women are part-time employees, and when it comes to average weekly ordinary earnings, women earn 13.9 per cent less than men.
Meanwhile, figures from February 2019 show 34.9 per cent of all business owners are women, and that statistic is growing.
Between a clear pay gap, insecure part-time employment, and the fact women are more likely to be primary carers to both children and aging parents, it quickly adds up that women are more likely to shift careers into new roles that better suit their changed circumstances and skills.
On top of that, there’s the growing realisation that many of us will need to work far longer than our predecessors, allowing us additional time to shift career.
The ABC recently noted the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs in Australia is actually seniors, driven by people over 55 looking to start their own business.
“As people live longer, mature age is redefined — now it's seen as early retirement if you check out of the workforce at 55. The Government would like us to work until we're 70, so through choice and necessity, we are looking for new options,” they reflect.
That means not only are we likely to consider a career shift (or four) in our lifetime, many of us will also toy with going into business as well.
So, what should you consider if you’re pondering a change?
As mentioned, changing careers can be driven by a number of factors, but it’s important to know exactly why before taking the plunge. This helps you define your drivers and motivations – whether it’s money, flexibility, creativity or giving back.
You know the saying…“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”. Passion should play a part in any career shift, allowing you to derive personal satisfaction and reward from your job.
In fact, many women shift careers post-children as they look to reinvent themselves and embrace the real person they are.
It’s all very well to imagine what nursing might be like, how hospitality works or what running your own business might require, but the reality of a job day-to-day can be very different to what you expect. That means research and reconnaissance is a must.
Whether that’s through online research, work experience, talking with people in that field, or speaking to a career’s advisor, understand what you’re in for before you take the plunge.
Changing careers can have a significant financial impact, often requiring you to step down in terms of position and start from “the bottom” again. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but should be factored into any career change decision.
Whether it’s life skills, job skills, or personal experience, changing careers doesn’t necessarily involve an entirely new skillset. Find the skills that can be transferred from previous roles and consider how you can put them to good use.
Have you embraced a major career change? We’d love to hear how that went.