Why having a job for life is becoming a thing of the past

Not so long ago, having a job for life was considered a great achievement. Many people worked their whole life in one company, celebrating decades of loyalty to a business on retirement.

But a new survey of 2,000 UK workers has revealed that a job for life is very much a thing of the past. In fact, our research found that the average millennial has already held as many jobs as those aged 55 have held in their entire career.

For a long time now, we have seen a gradual change in the job market. People are now prepared to move from job to job and even switch careers, rather than settling into a career and a business that they intend to stay with for their working life.

What our new research revealed is a dramatic difference in the working lifeline of a millennial in comparison to someone later on in their career. In fact, millennials have already had around the same number of roles as those who are nearing the end of their working life.

Our nationwide poll discovered that those aged 25-34 have, on average, already worked in six different roles. With older adults approaching retirement, having only worked in a total of seven jobs during their entire working life.

Why is this?

As we see UK workers moving roles and changing careers far more frequently, we have explored why this is.

Our survey found the most common reason behind changing jobs was the desire for a higher wage, followed by moving for better career progression and to find work in a new location.

Others also opted to change jobs to either take on a bigger challenge, move to something less stressful, or go somewhere with better training opportunities.

And we know that today there is a much wider variety of options available to support people switching careers. For example, it is now easier to access training through distance learning, meaning people can retrain and change their career path even while they are already in a full-time role.

Other paths are also emerging for those planning a change. In our survey, 28 per cent of those polled said they have a side hustle, with 86 per cent saying this side venture is completely different from their current career. One in four of those with a job on the side began doing it in order to build up additional skills and contacts, which they can then hopefully turn into a job.

We know that changing professions is a life-changing decision, impacting your family and much more than just your professional life. So, it’s no surprise to see the side hustle is becoming more popular as people experiment in a new field and establish some experience prior to taking the plunge into a new career.

What are millennials looking for?

For the most part, it seems that of the millennials involved in our research, 47 per cent have already completely changed careers since getting their first job. The reason for changing? They are chasing a number of different things: a better salary, an improved work-life balance or they are simply looking for a new challenge.

Millennials also expressed that there was often too much pressure in their first career, with 17 per cent saying they felt there were no more opportunities for them. So, the move to a new career may be to search for a less stressful position or role that will provide them with more opportunities to progress their professional life.

It seems millennials are moving on at a faster rate too. Our research shows that over 55s stay in the same role for more than seven years before moving on, whereas young adults switch jobs after less than four years.

There is clearly a confidence in younger people to make bolder moves, which the research shows stems from the availability of opportunity and support. But, we know also this comes from a desire to seek out positions that value wellbeing and progression, as well as potentially having fewer ties as a younger adult.

Planning a career change?

At Open Study College, we know it’s never too late to make a change to do something that really inspires you. We have helped thousands of students at all ages to make their career move, using our courses as a way to upskill and gain new knowledge and qualifications before taking the leap.

We offer numerous courses that can help you test a new profession and put yourself in a much better position to move to a new career. It’s also a great way to get ahead of the curve when it comes to changing jobs – even within the same career path. So, with all this support available, there has never been a better time to make a change. Contact us today to discuss your options.

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Samantha Rutter

As a founding shareholder and Director, I'm incredibly proud of what we have achieved at Open Study College, using experiences throughout our professional lives to build OSC to a multi million pound business. Starting the business from our family home over 12 years ago, and staying true to our core family values, we've created a strong team of 45 people plus our 70+ tutors dotted around the country - and we're still growing!

Why having a job for life is becoming a thing of the past