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Nine out of ten UK workers looking for a new job: research

A staggering 89% of British workers want a change of scene in 2021, and almost half are considering switching sectors, indicating this could be the year of the big career change.

A new survey of more than 5,000 people by job board Totaljobs reveals it is not just the increase in unemployment that is driving competition – more than 80% of employed respondents say they are applying for new roles.

Over three quarters of respondents started looking for a role in December and a further one in 10 said they will start looking this month. The events of 2020 have clearly put people’s careers into sharp perspective, resulting in many looking to shake things up in 2021.

Sector switch a popular move

Almost half (45%) of workers do not think they will work in the same sector in 2021 as they did in 2020 and one in five is looking for work in a more secure industry.

Over a third are looking for a fresh start and 10% want a change of location. Of those, over half are looking to relocate within the UK. However, the change of location isn’t just domestic, with 24% looking within the EU as a possible reaction to Brexit, and 14% looking outside the EU altogether.

Totaljobs CEO Jon Wilson commented: “While the full impact of the pandemic will remain unclear for the time being, what we do know is that workers have experienced a huge strain on their working lives during 2020. It is perhaps no surprise that they will be seeking a fresh start and new opportunities in the months to come.

Over the past year, we’ve seen workers setting new standards for their employment conditions. The rise of remote working has seen candidates move around the country or even relocate outside the UK to find work. The coming months will reveal how much more of an impact the pandemic and Brexit will have on people’s attitudes towards their jobs, their location and their employment terms.”

Developing skills in lockdown

The research also revealed that only one in 10 workers said they had received training during 2020, though 30% have used their time during the pandemic productively to further their development by picking up a new skill or qualification. People have also used their time to help others, with 14% having done volunteering, charity or community work over the past year. 

Wilson said it was a positive sign that so many people picked up extra skills and qualifications during lockdown. “This shows a willingness to keep their progression on track or learn new, transferable skills required to be employable in a different industry,” he added.

Job insecurity and delayed retirement

The turbulence of the past twelve months plays heavily on people’s minds, with 66% stating they continue to fear for their job security.

More than half of respondents think it will take them up to three months to find a new job and over a quarter (26%) feel it is likely they will become unemployed in 2021.

Lockdown has also upturned plans for many older workers – 35% of respondents who had planned to retire in the next three to five years say they now won’t, with 60% stating they could not afford to. In contrast, 5% of people who weren’t looking to retire in the next three to five years now will, with 32% having lost their jobs and unable to find new ones.

Read the full report here.

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