They are stories heard over and over again -- "trader leaves floor to shape young minds," or "successful lawyer instead makes fortune in wine." They are stories of workers wanting to make a change and they're not alone. Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of U.S. workers report they have changed careers at least once. More than a third (35 percent) say they are currently interested in making a career change, according to a new CareerBuilder.com survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, of more than 5,700 workers.
CareerBuilder.com is hoping to make the process easier by launching a new Web site, http://www.careerpath.com/, a comprehensive resource for workers who are interested in trying out a different career. CareerPath.com centers around a free assessment test made up of 36 questions about skills, abilities, personal values and interests that are then correlated to competencies that are necessary for certain fields of work. The test is based on the well known Holland Theory that suggests that people who work in an environment that closely mirrors their personality will be more successful and feel more fulfilled. Visitors to the site can take the test, obtain career advice and find new career opportunities.
"It used to be that you began a career after high school or college and 40 years later you retired still working in the same field, but today it's common for workers to not only change jobs, but careers numerous times in their lives," said Liz Harvey, director of Consumer Products for CareerBuilder.com. "The workplace dynamic has changed - smart phones, laptops and the internet have blurred the line between work and home and today's job seekers are increasingly interested in careers that mirror their own personal interests. CareerPath.com was designed to help job seekers understand how their interests and skills can be translated into new career opportunities."
Shift in What Matters
When it comes to what is most important to workers in respect to their jobs, 22 percent say it's the opportunity to make a difference and 19 percent say it's contributing to the success of the organization. Others say they're most motivated by benefits (10 percent), having fun (6 percent) and getting ahead into a senior position (5 percent). Less than a third (31 percent) say taking home a paycheck is most important.
Who Wants a Change and What Do They Want to Do?
According to the survey, retail sales (52 percent) and hospitality (52 percent) workers rank among those who expressed higher interest in a career change. Forty-one percent of IT workers and 36 percent of banking/finance workers are also interested in a change. Educators (25 percent), government employees (25 percent) and healthcare workers (29 percent) are the least likely to want to change careers.
In terms of geography, workers in the Midwest (41 percent) and South (38 percent) are the most likely to want to change careers, while workers in the West (35 percent) and Northeast (33 percent) are the least likely.
As far as the careers that are most appealing to potential career changers, only one-in-ten want a career in the lime light -- citing entertainment, art, sports, media or journalism(i) as their career of choice. Over a quarter are interested in positions in healthcare/medicine(ii), 20 percent in business and accounting(iii), 16 percent would choose technology careers(iv) and 12 percent human resources(v).
Roadblocks to Career Change
What is holding back workers who are not interested in a career change? More than a third (35 percent) do not want to start over in an entry level position, while 39 percent are comfortable where they are and view change as scary. More than one-in-five (22 percent) cite financial concerns and 16 percent say they would need to obtain additional education.
Harvey recommends the following tips for job seekers who are interested in changing careers:
Assess Your Interests
Before you consider a new career, consider yourself first. What do you enjoy doing when you're not at work? What do you have no problem finding the motivation to do? Ask friends and co-workers what they believe are your strengths and weaknesses. Take an interest assessment test. Keep a journal for a couple of weeks and document the things at your current job that make you happy and those that frustrate you. Gaining a better understanding of your interests and strengths will make it easier pursue a new career that suits you.
Do Your Homework
Before you consider a career change, learn all you can about the industry you are interested in joining. Attend an industry trade show, order subscriptions to industry publications, read online newsletters and blogs. Are there volunteer experiences that could help you gain the skills you need? For instance, if you're interested in marketing, volunteer with a political campaign or charitable organization that needs help marketing their efforts.
Conduct Informational Interviews
A career change is a big step and the grass isn't always greener on the other side. So, reach out to individuals in the industry to see if they would be willing to talk to you about their experiences. Attending networking events or tradeshows in the industry will make it easier to identify and approach these individuals. Or consider asking one of your contacts to make an introduction.
Identify/Consider Your Transferable Skills
Once you've talked to people in the industry of choice, also look at job descriptions of positions you would be interested in. Then, make a list of the most important skills or the experience that is deemed necessary in those positions. Now think about your work, life and volunteer experiences that demonstrate that you would be effective in the new role.
Plot Out Your Path -- It Doesn't Have to be a Straight Line
One of the main concerns of those looking to change jobs is the fear of starting over in an entry level position. Keep in mind the path from point A to point B isn't necessarily a straight line. There may be stops along the way. If you have an IT background and want to get into finance, would you consider an IT position at a financial organization or if your background is in biology, but you think marketing is your calling, you may want to consider marketing firms that have healthcare clients. Transition steps can help you find a new career without starting over - they also help you more quickly identify the skills you need to obtain.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of CareerBuilder.com among 5,727 US employees, (employed full-time; not self-employed; with no involvement in hiring decisions), ages 18 and over within the United States between June 1 and June 13, 2007. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
With a pure probability sample of 5,727, one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/-1.3 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
CareerBuilder.com is the nation's largest online job site with more than 22 million unique visitors and over 1.5 million jobs. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc.
i Entertainment, art, sports, media or journalism includes: Entertainment/Art/Sports/Media and Journalist ii Healthcare/medicine includes: Healthcare support, Medical professional -other, Counselor, therapist, clergy, Medical professional - nurse,
Healthcare practitioners/technical, and Medical professional - -
physician iii Business and Accounting includes: Accounting/Financial Operations, General Business, Business Development iv Technology Careers includes- Computer/Mathematical, Information Technology, Engineering v Human resources includes- Human Resources, Staffing Media Contact: Tanya Flynn 773-527-5393
First Call Analyst:
CONTACT: Tanya Flynn of CareerBuilder.com, +1-773-527-5393,