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Research has shown that around 60% of UK workers are planning to make a change to their career as a result of the pandemic. Smart employers should be looking to go on the journey with them.

According to a study published earlier this year, as part of Aviva’s How We Live report, the number of people wanting to shake up their working life has risen by 7% since July 2020. Desired changes range from wanting to learn a new skill to switching fields completely.

Younger people are the most likely to be considering a total career change, with 87% of under-25s looking to make a move within the next 12 months. The number of people hoping to turn their hobby into a second income or even a career has also risen.

This sounds like bad news for employers, who may be facing a mass exodus if the figures are to be believed. But there could be a silver lining to all this desire for change.

Employer and employee’s ambitions can still align

While the pandemic has prompted many people to re-evaluate their priorities, in both their professional and personal lives, it’s important not to allow kneejerk reactions to lead to rash decisions long-term. Similarly, rather than being alarmed by a restless worker, smart employers should look at ways to keep their employees’ needs in alignment with their own.

If an investment banker wants to go off and become a pig farmer, there’s probably little compromise to be found there. However, there may be less drastic ways to bring about big changes in someone’s working life without parting company.

A hankering for more autonomy and responsibility could be met with a move into a management role. Behind-the-scenes workers who long for more variety may thrive in a customer-facing position. Greater work-life balance could be achieved by moving onto a different shift pattern, without necessitating an entirely new job.

If someone is feeling unfulfilled or unchallenged, learning a new skill could breathe fresh life into their career. Someone who is stagnating in one department could be energised by moving to another. Learning how to lead a team, speak in public or overcome a lack of confidence could also have far-reaching effects on how your employees view their career prospects.

Highlight opportunities in the here and now

Sometimes, when someone wishes for a big change in their life, it may feel necessary to throw the baby out with the bathwater. They may have lost sight of opportunities at their current employer or believe that they would not be considered for any other roles there. So, if managers can see ways in which great employees could be redeployed or developed by their current employer, they shouldn’t keep it quiet.

Business skills training is a great way to harness and draw out hidden potential, along with mentoring and job shadowing schemes. Simply making employees aware of any professional development programmes or training funds the company offers could open employees’ minds to the opportunities available, right where they are.

When people feel revitalised and valued, it can lead to a whole new career path for them and a refreshed talent pool for their employer.



Helping your organisation to manage change successfully

Even the smallest change can meet with resistance, while the prospect of a large restructure can leave some businesses paralysed. Our courses are designed specifically around the challenges and issues facing your organisation. Learn how to manage change successfully by understanding the key components of change, and how these should be managed and communicated. Our bespoke training solutions are there to support you and your teams through times of change.

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Mark Fryer

19th October 2021

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