Changing careers is more common today than ever before. But, why are employees switching careers, and how often do people change jobs? More importantly, what can you do to retain talent or ensure that you have your pick of new candidates who may be a good fit for your company? Here are 18 career change statistics you need to know in 2022.
General Career Change Statistics
1. Over half of workers are open to leaving their employers (WTW)
If you’re not actively working to keep your employees, you might lose them. According to a survey by WTW, 53% of workers are open to leaving their current employers. Meanwhile, 44% actively searched for a new job during the last quarter of 2021 or had plans to seek new employment in 2022. Taking steps to lower your employee turnover rate even a bit can save your company time and money.
2. A third of workers under 40 have considered a career change in just the last two years (Washington Post)
Employees under 40 make up a substantial portion of the workforce. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, one in three have considered a career change. For many, the pandemic changed their mindset and gave them a sense of urgency to make a change. When you know that so many of your workers may be looking to leave, you can take steps to help retain them, giving them more workplace flexibility, increased pay, and additional benefits.
3. 64% of working parents have considered a career change (Catalyst)
Over 60% working parents have considered a career change or leaving their jobs outright since 2020. Some 55% say the main reason for this is that their company has not made efforts to address their concerns during the pandemic, and, in some cases, have made it harder for working parents.
Note, however, that 62% of survey respondents said their employer has improved their childcare benefits, making parents more likely to stay because their employer supports them.
4. Minorities have higher workplace turnover (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
White workers are about 32% more likely to stay at a company for at least 10 years. Only 26% of Asians, 23% of African Americans, and 22% of Hispanics have been with their company for a decade or more. While you need to ensure all of your employees get the support they need, paying attention to the needs of your minority employees may help reduce turnover through better inclusivity.
Employee Tenure Statistics
5. The average worker tenure is just over 4 years (BLS)
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average worker tenure is about four years. This survey is only conducted every two years, so these data reflect early 2020 tenure levels. Given the tumultuous workforce disruptions since then, it’s likely that this number is now much less.
6. Worker tenure is just 3 years for the service industry (BLS)
The average tenure in the service industry is just 2.9 years, the shortest of any industry. In addition, workers aged 25 to 34 have an average tenure across industries of just under three years. The younger your employees, the more likely they are to move to a new company quickly.
7. The average age of workers changing careers is 39 (Indeed)
Most younger employees get a bad rap for job-hopping or changing careers. Whether they’re looking for something new or have been burned out in their current career, the average age of someone making a dramatic shift is 39. This shows that you don’t just need to worry about younger employees moving around, but more tenured employees too.
8. Less than half of workers have a job in their degree field (Intelligent)
According to this survey, a significant number of workers (54%) don’t have jobs related to their degree. And only about half of respondents were hopeful of finding a well-paying job in their field; an almost equal percent were not hopeful. This shows that you don’t need to rely so much on a person’s educational background when you’re hiring. Instead, focus on skills-based hiring and on a candidate’s proven workplace experience or their passion. That’s often a better indicator of an employee’s potential success than education.
Workplace Satisfaction Statistics
9. 69% of Gen Z feel they don’t have a good work-life balance (GoodHire)
Gen Z has the lowest work-life balance satisfaction of any generation in the workforce today—nearly 70% are dissatisfied. Today, workers want to be supported by their organization, and part of that means providing employees with the time and energy to live their lives outside of work. While this may not be acceptable to the hustle culture, you’re more likely to attract high-quality employees by providing benefits that support a balanced work-life relationship.
10. Two-thirds of workers say they’re not paid enough (Credit Karma)
Not only do they say they’re not paid enough, but they’re not paid enough to keep up with inflation. In essence, many of these workers are having pay reductions, making it extremely likely that they will leave your company for even a slight bump in pay. Additionally, according to LendingClub, 64% of US workers live paycheck to paycheck. Even high earners are having problems: Nearly half of people earning over $100,000 annually live paycheck to paycheck.
11. Just 7% of workers consider their job excellent (Moneypenny)
That means 93% of the US workforce are unhappy in some way with their jobs or are not in what they consider their “dream jobs.” Even before the pandemic, many workers were unhappy in their jobs and sought a change. While most people find at least some parts of their job unenjoyable, having a happy career makes for a more productive environment. If you find your employees seem disconnected and disengaged, consider working with them to develop their careers and skills to provide a better environment for them to thrive.
Statistics on Worker Priorities
12. One in five workers would take a pay cut for better work-life balance (Prudential)
Based on survey results, 20% of employees would take an average pay cut of 10% if it meant finding a job with a better work-life balance and working in an industry or for a company they were passionate about. In fact, one-third of workers who have changed careers recently took a pay cut to have a job that gave them better work-life balance. Even though money is important, workers want flexibility and a life outside of work. If your company isn’t providing that, consider making changes to better support and retain your employees.
13. 52% of workers making less than $30,000 put flexibility over pay (Bankrate)
Contrary to popular belief, even employees making little money would choose better workplace flexibility over higher pay. While increased salary comes in a close second, if you can provide your workers with flexible work schedules and locations, you’re likely to have a better chance retaining them and it won’t cost you as much as increasing salaries.
14. 62% of employees want better workplace stability (Prudential)
More than 60% of employees looking for new jobs are looking at larger or more established companies rather than startups, which is indicative of the desire for more stability after the pandemic uncertainty. But, this doesn’t mean that small businesses or startups can’t attract high-quality employees. If you are able to show that you have a stable product and company, you can still attract and retain top talent.
15. 80% of employees want to work remotely at least two days per week (EY)
This goes back to what employees desire above all else: workplace flexibility. Employers often have a resistance to allowing remote work but, where possible, giving your employees flexibility to work remotely even part of the week can go a long way to gaining their trust and loyalty, reducing your attrition. Four in 5 surveyed employees want to work remotely two days or more weekly.
16. 35% of employees say pay increases are needed to reduce turnover (EY)
According to EY, about a third of employees suggest pay increases will help retain workers. There’s a disconnect here, however, because only 18% of employers agree.
If you’re worried about employees leaving or have already seen increased attrition rates, it’s worthwhile to reevaluate your pay bands and possibly increase salaries where you can—it could make a substantial difference.
17. 15% of workers change careers for upward mobility (Indeed)
Many employees feel stagnant in their jobs, so they look outside the company for promotion opportunities and upward mobility. This often comes with a raise, so workers achieve two objectives with one move. Investing in a strong training and development program and then providing the opportunities for skilled employees to advance can improve your employee satisfaction and retention and help your business fill needed roles with the best candidates.
18. 15% of workers change careers because of poor management (Indeed)
Not unrelated to the results above, the same Indeed survey found that 15% of workers leave their company to escape a toxic work culture or a bad boss. The old adage is true: Workers don’t quick companies; they quit bosses. If you have high attrition in one department, it might be worth looking into the manager of the team, as they may be ineffective and causing people to leave.
What Do These Career Change Statistics Have in Common?
An employer unwilling or unable to make changes is one thread connecting these statistics.
Your company has the ability to make changes to better support your team, increasing the likelihood that your business is less affected by employees leaving. Here are some quick ideas that can help your company avoid increased attrition as well as attract talent leaving other companies:
- Offer remote work options
- Increase your paid time off benefits
- Allow local employees the flexibility to work from home at least two days per week
- Give employees a commuter stipend
- Have regular employee retreats to build rapport
- Regularly review and update pay bands
- Create a development plan for every position so employees see their upward mobility track
- Offer parental workplace benefits
- Provide a remote work stipend
While COVID-19 made many employees reevaluate their careers, people don’t seem to be slowing down on this trend of career changes. Some of these career change statistics may give you pause, but it’s important that you and your HR team know what to look out for so you can make proper adjustments to your company. Making changes can help you retain your employees, attract new ones, and keep your business thriving.