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Money and Lifestyle Issues Driving Wave of Career Change for U.S. Workers

Money and Lifestyle Issues Driving Wave of Career Change for U.S. Workers

Career Stability May Be History, Kelly Global Workforce Index(TM) Finds

The career-for-life is vanishing, with almost half of all United States respondents saying they expect to switch careers within the next five years, according to the latest survey results from global workforce solutions leader, Kelly Services&reg.

The main cause, cited by 27 percent is the need for higher income, followed by changing personal interests (21 percent), concern that their industry is in decline (20 percent), and the need for improved work-life balance (19 percent).

The findings about career choice and career progression are part of the Kelly Global Workforce Index, which obtained the views of approximately 97,000 people in 30 countries including more than 18,000 in the United States.

"In the U.S., structural shifts in the economy and changing generational dynamics are combining to re-shape the way individuals view their work and careers," Kelly Services Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Webster says. "Historically, changing careers was often seen as a drastic step but today it is increasingly common as employees' personal and professional interests evolve, and as the demand for certain skills changes."

One sign of the shifting attitude to career interruption is that three-quarters of those surveyed believe they could resume their career at the same level after taking a break for such things as maternity or paternity leave, illness or an extended holiday.

Gen Y (aged 18-29) are the most confident of resuming their career following a break, with 86 percent confident they could do so, compared with 75 percent of Gen X (aged 30-47), and just 65 percent of baby boomers (aged 48-65).

Results of the survey in the United States show:

The industry sectors in which employees will face the greatest likelihood of career change are Travel/Leisure, Hospitality, Government, and Retail.

In determining the most important elements in a person's career -- experience or formal education -- the vast majority (80 percent) nominate experience, while 17 percent cite formal education and 3 percent are undecided.

Most respondents (61 percent) say that when looking for a job, the best indicator of a person's talent is their work experience, followed by performance in the job interview (25 percent), job references (8 percent) and education (7 percent).

Almost two-thirds of respondents (65 percent) say they aspire to an executive position, while 25 percent do not, and 10 percent are undecided.

The main reasons for avoiding executive positions are concern about pressure and stress, cited by 34 percent, followed by the impact on work-life balance (30 percent), inadequate skills or education (18 percent), "other" issues (11 percent), and lack of ambition (5 percent).

95 percent say that it is either "extremely important" or "important" that qualifications and skills be upgraded in order to progress their career.

"There is growing acceptance that in the contemporary workplace, many employees won't necessarily pursue a smooth career pathway. Rather it may entail a series of 'designer-careers,' characterized by changing personal interests and areas of specialization, and time away from the workforce for study, travel and family," Webster concludes.

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