Career dissatisfaction high as many UK workers seek change, research reveals

One in four UK workers are unhappy with their careers, with many seeking a change. Research by Indeed and St. James’s Place highlights the need for better awareness of fulfilling career options.
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One in four (24%) UK workers are dissatisfied in their careers, while a third (33%) are considering switching careers in the next year, according to new research by Indeed and the St. James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy. The research, which includes a poll of over 4,000 UK workers and job search data from Indeed, explores career satisfaction and the desire for change.

Despite widespread dissatisfaction, 27% of workers have never changed careers. However, 60% express a desire to switch careers within the next year.

Key Drivers of Career Dissatisfaction

Limited earning potential is a top reason for discontent, cited by 38% of workers. Financial pressures, particularly due to the cost-of-living crisis, contribute to this sentiment. Additionally, 37% of workers seek more meaningful work, and 36% find their current careers boring and unfulfilling. A toxic work/life balance is another common issue, noted by 32% of respondents, especially among Gen Z workers (37%).

Career Curiosity and Ageism

The research shows that Gen X workers are the most dissatisfied, with 27% unhappy in their jobs. However, only 28% of this generation are considering a career change within the next year. In contrast, 41% of Millennials desire a career switch in the next 12 months. Baby Boomers are largely satisfied with their careers, with 82% expressing contentment. Ageism may be a barrier for career changes, as 23% of UK workers believe the age limit to switch careers is in your 40s, and 12% think it is in your 30s.

Ideal Career Characteristics

More than two-thirds of respondents want a comfortable salary, which they estimate at an average of £50,384 a year. Men’s ideal salary is nearly £10,000 higher than women’s (£54,771 compared to £45,624). Millennials’ expectations are the highest, at £58,324. Over half of the workers want a healthier work/life balance (56%) and flexible hours (50%), with three days of remote work being the most popular.

Under-Considered Career Options

The research identifies “Ten of the best careers you’ve never considered,” which offer desirable characteristics like flexibility and a good salary but are often overlooked. These careers include employee relations manager, senior paraplanner, adjuster, financial adviser, finance systems analyst, digital consultant, benefits consultant, external affairs manager, policy manager, and rehabilitation manager.

Gee Foottit, partnerships manager at the St. James’s Place Financial Adviser Academy, said, “There are so many career choices out there for the third of us looking to make a switch. However, a lack of awareness about these opportunities, as well as a shortage of self-confidence, seem to be holding us back. So, we’re partnering with Indeed to put a spotlight on under-considered careers that could deliver exactly what people want. Just 4% of us have considered a career in financial advice, for instance, despite the chance to work flexibly, earn comfortably and make a real difference. Limited awareness of our profession means the gap in future talent for our sector is widening, so we need to change that.”

Jack Kennedy, senior economist at Indeed, said, “Indeed is committed to guiding people towards better work – work with more opportunity, transparency and greater wellbeing. Every month, millions of people search for jobs through the Indeed UK site, which gives us a fascinating window into what workers are looking for. We distilled these desirable features into some ‘dream career DNA’ and then reviewed our data on the career options that offer these – but which can often be overlooked. There’s something for everyone in our resulting list, from relationship-based roles, such as rehabilitation managers and financial advisers, to analytical ones, such as adjusters, finance systems analysts and digital consultants. So, if you’re one of the people dissatisfied with your current career choice, do take a look.”

Ryan Fowler

Ryan Fowler is Publisher of Workplace Journal

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