It’s impossible to know just how great an impact the pandemic is having, and will continue to have on every aspect of our lives. What we do know is that this is a really important time for people. Yes, there’s a whole lot of uncertainty and many of our life plans are on hold, but there's also incredible innovation occurring.
Economists are abuzz right now with talk of an impending shift in the workforce. All those people who were getting ready to change roles, careers or even industries pre-COVID have been forced to stay put, unwilling (or unable) to forego the security their existing jobs offered. Yet in some countries, we’re seeing people leave their employers in droves, as economies (and life) start returning to normal. In the US, for example, more than four million people quit their jobs in April (a giant leap from the 1.8 million people who said adios at the same time last year). According to a survey from the UK and Ireland, 38 per cent of employees are looking to change roles in the next 6 to 12 months, or once the economy has strengthened. Meanwhile, a Microsoft survey involving more than 30,000 employees worldwide found that 41 per cent of the workforce is likely to consider leaving their current employer within the next year, with almost half planning to make a major pivot or career transition.
Even if Australia is yet to see such figures (the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the job mobility rate was way down in the 12 months leading up to February), a shift is undoubtedly on the horizon. In fact, some people are using the term ‘the great resignation’ to describe the mass job exodus we’re seeing or can expect to see, in the year to come.
And why the shift? The pandemic has given people the opportunity to think long and hard about where they are in life and where they want to be – to reassess their professional and personal goals and realign their priorities. They’re also using this time to plan for the future and upskill, with research showing more than a quarter of Australian adults learnt new skills while in isolation last year, whether to progress their careers or simply to try something new. People are putting their hands up for redundancy cheques. They are taking time to write that book they’ve always wanted to, or making plans to set up their dream business.
The freelance economy is also in full swing, with more than a third of American workers going solo in some capacity last year when the job market went topsy-turvy. The corporate landscape is likewise evolving, as are the COVID challenges. Many of the changes made during the pandemic will most likely stick around, reshaping how we work in both the short and longer term.
If you are one of those people considering a big career change, here are five questions to work through:
- Am I prepared to do the work?
- Who do I know that can challenge me on my plan?
- Am I playing big enough?
- Do I really know what personal and professional success mean for me?
- What do I need to do today to start gaining momentum?
As always, when it comes to thinking about, and planning, your next move, we recommend doing some research. Here are some great resources to check out:
What you’re really meant to do, Robert Steven Kaplan
Reinventing you: define your brand, imagine your future, Dorie Clark
Future fit: how to stay relevant and competitive in the future of wWork, Andrea Clarke
How to find your passion and make it your job (13:39)
The career advice you probably didn’t get (13:48)
How to find work you love (17:37)
- The Coach Place Global
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