Career for life consigned to past as workers keen for change

Workers increasingly adapt to multiple careers.
Workers increasingly adapt to multiple careers.
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A life-long career is fast becoming a thing of the past as three quarters of UK employees have revealed they are choosing to re-invent themselves multiple times in different professions.

A report has found that a third of the UK’s workforce are on their second career, with a further 38 per cent saying they have already had three or more different professions.

People are not put off from making a major change later in life, the study found, with as many as 16 per cent of workers saying they have switched occupations after turning 45.

Redundancy is cited as the most common reason for a change in career for over 50s, while 15 per cent said they wanted a change or to do something which interested them personally as well as professionally.

Fewer than one in ten over 55s who switched jobs said they did so because they wanted to earn more money.

Jenny Atkinson head of HR for Co-op Funeralcare, which commissioned the report, said: “As we’re living longer, our work is playing an increasingly dominant role in our lives.

“With some having entered the workplace at 16, and our data showing the new expected retirement age to be 64, this means many people will have been working for almost 50 years.”

She added that people as old as 67 had trained to become funeral director apprentices with the company.

“Switching careers and re-training is a way of keeping your mind active,” she said.

The figures also revealed that the average expected age for retirement of UK working adults is now 64, however, one in ten over 50s admitted that they do not think they will ever be in a financial position which will allow them to retire.

Meanwhile, a further one in ten also said that they needed a role that would allow them to work flexibly.

Steve Morris, UK sales and marketing director for training firm Learndirect, said: “It’s fantastic that this new research has revealed that people are looking for a more varied working life.

“It’s never too late to re-train, and people who are thinking about switching careers should remember that they have many transferable skills that would lend themselves to a variety of other positions.”

The study found that 13 per cent of over 50s feel that they have not yet achieved their career goals, while 45 per cent of UK workers who have not achieved their career goals after the age of 50, do not feel that they ever will.