Three fifths of UK workers plan career changes due to Covid

A recent report from the insurer Aviva provides a snapshot of lives, plans and aspirations for Brits, revealing how things have changed during 2020 and beyond. The ‘How we live’ report looks at how so many of people’s decisions and plans for the future are being influenced by the COVID aftermath.

The latest update to the study reports that 53% of UK workers wanted to make some changes to their careers as a result of the global pandemic. This figure refers to research carried out in July 2020. Updated comparative data finds that this proportion has increased, and at February 2021, three fifths (60%) of UK workers intended to make changes to their careers, in response to the Covid situation.

These transformations come in many forms and ambitions are creeping up in a number of different areas. The proportion of workers intending to follow a completely different career path has increased from 7% to 9%, while those planning to find a role which helps others has risen from 6% to 8%, perhaps as a result of what people have witnessed during the pandemic.

While these increases may appear to be relatively small, growing by just two percentage points in both cases, they account for nearly 700,000(1) workers on both counts – a not insignificant number if these switches are to be made.

Again, the most popular change which people would like to introduce to their career is the ability to work from home. This figure stayed static since July 2020 at 10%, suggesting that home-working has proved a benefit of the pandemic for some.

Covid and careers within different age groups

Drilling deeper, there are some interesting insights amongst different age groups. People aged under 25 are most likely to want to make changes to their work plans in the next 12 months as a result of the pandemic, with 87% re-evaluating their careers.

Under-25s are more likely than any other age group to want a role where they can work from home (13%). They are also the age group most likely to be seeking a job which helps others (13%) and – perhaps predictably – to hope to gain more academic qualifications (17%).

Those in the 25-34 age group are most likely to want to retrain (14% compared to 10% across all age groups) or follow a completely different career path (14% vs 9% all ages).

At the opposite end of the working age spectrum, people are even more likely to want to retire as a result of the pandemic, than they were in July 2020. One in seven (14%) workers aged 55 and above say the pandemic has escalated their retirement plans to within the next 12 months, compared to 11% in July 2020.


Next article: Did the pandemic influence your retirement plans?