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Why are people choosing to have more than one career?

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

We all know that the job market is changing. A study of UK Employees suggests we’ll have at least six jobs before reaching retirement – a very conservative estimate. And in America, the average person is predicted to hold 10 separate roles before they reach 40. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s common for people to work at many different places in their lifetime, but what about those who are choosing a complete career change?

Perhaps it’s no surprise that, as Employees are switching jobs more frequently, some are opting to follow a totally different path. Research shows there is a growing trend for ‘resetting’ – which is when people decide to make major adjustments, such as changing careers, setting up your own business or developing a hobby to generate your main income. In fact, over half of the UK population are likely to do so in the next five years.

For young graduates, job changes are often common early on, as new Employees explore what they want to specialise in. However, they’re also becoming the norm later in life. When people fall out of love with their current career, or learn that it isn’t what’s they expected, it’s possible to change course. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), over 50,000 students across UK campuses are aged 50 or over. Now more than ever, it’s possible to re-train, qualifying for a new profession as a mature student.

As well as rising trend for multiple careers, we’ve also seen an increase in Candidates who are choosing to pursue several different interests at the same time. Described as ‘career slashers’ by the author Marci Alboher, these are your portfolio careerists who are opting to develop several complementary roles at once. It may sound complicated, but for some this makes perfect sense. Think about it, you could be a writer, speaker and consultant or a journalist, photographer and copy writer.

There are many scenarios in which people are choosing not only to have more than one career, but to be developing several careers on the go. Some, for example, may need one job to pay the bills while they develop another outlet – to develop your craft as a singer songwriter, you may need to work at something else in the meantime. Given the recent rise in the number of freelancers – there are two million in the UK alone – it’s only natural that people are looking to diversity and create multiple income streams.

All of this goes hand in hand with the fact that Employees’ attitudes towards work is changing. Today, more than 50 per cent of Employees say that work-life balance is an important factor when they’re deciding to take a new job. Increasingly, people are shifting their focus from securing a ‘job for life’ to ‘skills for a lifetime’ and, for many, it’s a priority to be able to work around factors in their personal life, such as family life, caring duties or simply just taking time off for yourself.

It’s also important to mention that, globally, we’re seeing a sharp increase in demand for roles within new, emerging fields – in areas such as green energy, cybersecurity and biotechnology. For those seeking a new challenge, switching careers to become an expertise in these areas could prove to be a wise move. With a current skills shortage in the UK, the jobs market is primarily Candidate driven, which means that Employers across all industries are becoming increasingly open to transferable skills.

Switching careers is a trend that may be here to stay and has many positive benefits. While it takes hard work and determination to make the change successfully, altering course allows people to focus on their passion, take control of their future and, above all, work to their best ability in a role that truly interests them. Of course, there are many different options, so take time to reflect on what will suit you best.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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