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The COVID Career Change Up

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Lizzie Tasker Career Advice, Work Life, Tips...

The Coronavirus outbreak has turned the world of work on its head.

Throughout the pandemic, over 11 million jobs were supported through the Government’s furlough scheme. Of that number, some remain on furlough and some have found themselves out of work, not knowing whether their previous career or sector will be able to offer a reliable income or job security when the furlough scheme comes to an end in September.

Then, within the millions of people who have been working remotely, there are those with concerns over employers proposing long-term or permanent moves to ‘virtual’ offices, fearing what that will mean for their future job satisfaction and engagement.  Conversely, there are those who have relished the opportunity to work from home, perhaps reclaiming time and money previously spent commuting, finding more of a work/life balance, who don’t want to return to the office.

There are also those people for whom lockdown has provided an opportunity to re-evaluate, re-prioritise, and gain a fresh perspective on what they want from their life and career.

Given all of this, it, therefore, comes as no surprise that a study by insurance firm, Aviva, (released in Sep 2020) has shown that 53% of UK workers plan to make changes to their careers within the next year as a direct result of the pandemic.

If a career change is on your mind at the moment, you might want to consider the following:

Do I want to change industry or just my job, or vice versa?

Think about what it is that is causing you to think about making a change. Are you unhappy with your career path or industry, or are the issues more specific to your job or employer? Perhaps, you love your job role but have fallen out of love with the sector. Or in light of the pandemic, you don't feel like you have a choice as your previous job is no longer viable. 

It’s worth considering that, often, a job role with the same title but at a different employer can be entirely different. Think about what it is you enjoy and don’t like about what you do currently and what you’d like from your next role.

If job security is important to you, pay attention to what is happening in that industry. Nothing is ever guaranteed (no one could have predicted Covid, for example!) but it’s still valid to consider whether you’d be joining a growing sector over one that is shrinking. 

What are my transferable skills?

Transferable skills can be ‘soft’ skills such as being a great communicator or working well under pressure, or they can be more tangible such as being a whizz on Excel or being able to speak a language. Your unique combination of skills are what make you, you. Most people thrive in environments suited to their skillset, so think about potential sectors or roles that will help you utilise your best talents.

One of the buzzwords from the pandemic is adaptability. Undoubtedly, businesses that adapted quickly experienced the smoothest transition into these new ways of working or having to branch out into different markets. But in order for a business to adapt, especially so quickly and with all the other pressures of the pandemic, it requires a workforce that can be flexible, innovate and embrace change. The ability to be adaptable is a skill that has rocketed up the wish list of many employers and looks set to stay as we navigate the months ahead.

Do I need to re-train?

Investing in training or qualifications can be time and money well-spent in the long run - but do your research first. Look at job adverts for your target role and see what employers are actually asking for. Some sectors want to entice applicants from other backgrounds by offering to pay for training courses or offering ‘on the job' training. 

Do I have the finances to fund the change right now?

One of the biggest considerations of a career change is perhaps having to take a lower-level role and a wage cut in order to get a foot in the door. While it might pay dividends in the longer term, you’ll need to consider your current living costs and whether it’s a sustainable sacrifice in the immediate future.

And finally, there's no question that change can be scary and requires a leap of faith into the unknown. But once you've decided that a change is necessary, then don't let fear be the only thing holding you back. 

Our team of consultants have helped many people through a career change, they're experts in our local marketplaces and pride themselves on taking the time to really get to know their candidates and the roles they recruit for. They're always happy to give advice and feedback so get in touch with your local branch and draw upon their years of experience and expertise.