Almost one-half of workers plan to switch careers in 5 years: Survey

Most likely in hospitality, travel and leisure, customer service sectors
||Last Updated: 08/26/2011

Almost one-half of Canadians expect to switch careers within the next five years, according to a survey from workforce solutions provider Kelly Services.

The main causes are the need for improved work-life balance and changing personal interests (both cited by 24 per cent), followed by the need for higher income (23 per cent), found the survey of about 4,000 people.

"A surprisingly large number of our workforce may be actively considering changing their careers and making a fresh start," said Kelly Services director of operations Carolyn Grossi.

"Twenty years ago, the thought of having to change careers might have been viewed as a crisis but today, the workforce is much more flexible to the shifts in demand for different skills and occupations, and also reflects a change in personal needs and interests on the part of employees."

The industry sectors in which Canadian employees will face the greatest likelihood of career change are hospitality, travel and leisure and contact centre or customer service, found the survey, part of the Kelly Global Workforce Index, which surveyed about 97,000 people in 30 countries.

"As individuals take greater control of their careers, there is a likelihood of employees moving in and out of the workforce for both professional and lifestyle reasons. It will be increasingly important that employers and employees learn to adapt to this new workplace reality, where the 'one career' pathway may become the exception rather than the rule," said Grossi.

Most respondents (61 per cent) said when looking for a job, the best indicator of a person's talent is their work experience, followed by performance in the job interview (23 per cent), job references (10 per cent) and education (seven per cent).

In determining the most important elements in a person's career — experience or formal education — 81 per cent cite experience while 17 per cent cite formal education, found Kelly Services.

More than two-thirds of the respondents (67 per cent) said they aspire to an executive position, while 24 per cent do not, and nine per cent are undecided. The main reasons for avoiding executive positions are concerns about pressure and stress (33 per cent), followed by the impact on work-life balance (27 per cent) and inadequate skills or education (20 per cent).

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