There are very few of us who can’t claim to have made a New Year’s resolution at some point in our lives. The determination to lose weight, or exercise more, or maybe spend more time with the people who really matter to us. But how about considering another kind of resolution: making a fresh start in our professional life?
It is now well recognized that an active life can both be cut short prematurely by changes in the sector and, at the same time, extend well beyond the traditional retirement age. The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott examines just this, suggesting that due to changes in life expectancy and health, people may rightly s expect to live (and work) much longer than previous generations, and it may therefore be necessary to consider alternative, more flexible working lives that take all these developments into account.
Juxtapose that with the profound impacts of the pandemic over the past two years, when we have heard of so many people who have made significant lifestyle changes for themselves and their families: people who have fled the city to make a fresh start in the countryside for a better quality of life. Some of these changes were precipitated by the extreme nature of the pandemic and the desire to make changes, and some of them were born out of sheer necessity – for example, their means of earning a living were suddenly no longer there. at their disposal.
Certainly, at the height of the first pandemic, the desire to make change and the need to do so seemed more imperative. Yet our annual jobs survey, completed a few weeks ago, continues to echo this yearning for change. Nearly 40% of respondents told us they had made a career transition in the past year, and those transitions were so varied. A number of people have moved into education in sectors such as beauty, pharmaceuticals and heritage; one respondent documented a shift from e-commerce to HR; others from marketing to retail, from retail to real estate, from community to consulting, from tourism to retail, from finance to real estate, from construction to IT, from software to public relations, and most intriguing from the police to a career in sales!
Put it all in a huge melting pot, stir it well, and it all indicates that career change can happen at so many different stages of our lives – whether driven by necessity or desire.
But training to initiate a career change can be expensive. And it’s likely that starting over in a new job will mean a significant pay cut – one that might simply not be affordable for most people, who have bills to pay and families to feed. Each person has to decide what might work for them, but there is support out there!
At Work Avenue, we have a number of programs that recognize the need for career change. Our Vocational Training Bursary Fund provides significant funding for retraining candidates for whom the cost of training is simply prohibitive; and our social enterprise trains people in the key skills in demand for today’s workplace, then offers them, crucially, paid project work in this area – building both the skills and experience of the individual. These two initiatives are two of our most popular service offerings with clients, underpinning the career change urge we see so often.
So, as the Romans said: carpe diem – seize the day! Make 2022 the year of the new highly qualified you!
David Arden is the CEO of Work Avenue. He has a background in project management, business change and delivery strategy and has held positions in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.