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Who changes their careers the most and least?

A new study by SmartSurvey analysed government data to reveal the ages, genders, locations and industries which are changing jobs the most. 


In 2018, just 5.5% of workers between the ages of 50 and 64 changed jobs, and those aged 65 and over had a job changing rate of just 2.8%. 


The 16 to 20 age group saw 27.9% of workers changing jobs in 2018. This group included 45.5% male stayers and 43.5% female stayers, indicating that women were changing jobs at a higher rate than men.

Northern Irish workers are most likely to continue working in their region, with just 4.6% of those changing jobs from 2017-2018 leaving Northern Ireland. The East Midlands region had the highest proportion of workers leaving the area, with just over a quarter of those changing jobs choosing to move elsewhere.


It also found that 91.6% of public sector employees were in the same job as the previous year, compared to 88.5% of private sector employees. While private sector workers have a higher growth of earnings compared to public sector workers even if they stay in their current jobs, the rate at which they can increase their earning potential by changing jobs is also higher, with a difference of 4.8% compared to 3.7% in the public sector.


Looking at worker behaviour by industry, it found that those who work in production are much more likely to stay in their jobs – despite their earnings increasing the most when they did choose to change jobs, with an average increase of 10.5% to their hourly earnings.


Looking back over the past twenty years, the number of people changing jobs plummeted to 5.7% in 2010, following the financial downturn. In the years since, the number of people changing jobs has steadily increased as the labour market recovered, with the number of people changing jobs more than doubling between 2010 and 2018.


All data is taken from the ONS report - Analysis of Job Changers and Stayers - and features data from years 2000-2018 in the UK. You can view the full research at


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