Career Change Statistics

Statistics Suggest You Will Change Careers More Frequently

The average person will change careers 5-7 times during their working life according to career change statistics.

With an ever increasing number of career choices, 30% of the workforce will now change careers or jobs every 12 months. By the age of 42, you may already have had about ten jobs.

Am I Making a Career Change or a Job Change?

One of the problems when assessing these career change statistics is to differentiate between making a job change or making a career change.

It can be difficult to differentiate between the two as the Department of Labor has suggested.

For example, if a schoolteacher secures a new job as a corporate sales trainer, has she changed careers or just changed jobs? You could argue that she has changed careers from education to sales. Or you could argue that she has changed jobs from schoolteacher to adult teacher.

What about someone who transitions from a sales representative to a marketing manager. You could argue that they have not changed careers because they are still in the sales field.

But marketing experts would say that sales and marketing are two completely different fields and that this transition does constitute a career change.

Did a construction worker who decided to start his own home-remodelling business experience a career change? What about a newspaper reporter who became a TV news anchor? Each of these examples involves a change in occupation, industry, or both, but do they represent career changes? Most people probably would agree that a medical doctor who quits to become a comedian experienced a career change, but most “career changes” probably are not so dramatic

Bureau Labor Statistics

What Do These Career Change Statistics Tell Us?

  1. If you are going to change careers often, you should plan for it! Plan financially, plan by proactively setting up networks, and plan to potentially engage in some career change training.
  2. Employers expect, or at least accept, that workers will be changing jobs a lot more often these days – about every 3 years.
  3. If you are changing jobs less than every three years, you are in the minority.
    You may need to have a well-prepared explanation when you front up to your next job interview.
  4. What causes workers to want to change careers every three years?
    (a) Do we simply get bored or is it the result of having many more different career choices?
    b) Do we become more aware of our gifts and abilities as we get older and have a desire to align them with a better job fit?
    (c) Is three years about how long it takes for people to run into work culture problems or personal conflicts in their working environment?

What Are the Most Common Reasons For Career Change?

Career change statistics from the D.O.L don’t tell us much about why people change jobs. But here are some likely reasons based on other sources.

  1. Frustration and disillusionment. Not using my natural abilities in my current job.
  2. Redundancy or business closure.
  3. Working in a diminishing industry.
  4. Realignment of personal or spiritual values (ie) a midlife re-evaluation.
  5. Dislike of the organizational culture.
  6. Want more money!

The Pros and Cons of Making a Career Switch

So career change statistics suggest we will change jobs more often but is this a good thing?
Here are the pros and cons:

Some benefits of a frequent career change are:

  • Less likely to get bored.
  • You will get to experience a greater variety of job types and organizational cultures.
  • You will meet more people (which is ideal for networking for your next job).

Some negative results of this could be:

  • Having different career choices available means that you might be tempted to change careers too frequently.
  • Prospective employers may think ‘hey this guy will be gone in 12 months’, thereby making them reluctant to employ you.
  • You may also miss out on the opportunity to climb the ladder within an organization simply because you aren’t there long enough.
  • Some people may also make some unreasonable judgments on your stability as an employee.

A Good Reason to Change Jobs

Career change information tells us that one of the most common reasons people leave a job is due to being dissatisfied and unfulfilled with the work they do. Research suggests that up to 80% of people are not happy in their current job and the main reason for this is a mismatch between what they are good at and what they are currently doing.

So we should always be trying to move closer to a job that uses our natural gifts and abilities. This is the only way we can experience true fulfillment in our career.

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