New research from TopCV, the world’s largest CV-writing service, reveals that one-third (30%) of UK professionals have changed jobs in the past year since the pandemic began.

Of those who have changed jobs, a total career overhaul was the most popular move. Nearly two in five (38%) said they had completely changed roles, industry and company, while 20% remained at the same company, but changed roles.

Many of these moves made in the past year are a direct consequence of COVID-19, with 75% of participants stating that the pandemic has altered their career plans. Almost half (49%) of those affected said that recent events had caused them to reflect on what they wanted from their career or employer, prompting them to look for other job opportunities. This corresponds with earlier findings from TopCV from last June, which suggested that a majority of employees were considering leaving their current role due to poor treatment by their employer during the crisis.

Some, however, were forced to find new roles. Over one-third (34%) of those affected were made redundant or furloughed during the pandemic, compelling them to look for work elsewhere, while another 18% have had to look for work outside their field or industry until the market recovers. Child care challenges also played a part, with homeschooling and closures pressuring eight per cent of respondents to find a more flexible role.

Of those who had changed roles in the past year, the most popular target fields for their next role were operations and general management (18%), healthcare (15%) and engineering and construction (14%).

Amanda Augustine, careers expert at TopCV, commented: “Whether COVID-19 forced certain individuals to look for work in different industries or it ultimately prompted others to reconsider their work-lives and seek a change, at TopCV we’ve seen a noticeable uptick in professionals making career pivots over the past year, and that trend has continued into 2021.”

If you’re looking to make a total career change this year, or need to find other opportunities as a result of COVID-19, Amanda has some tips:

  • Explore your options. Some industries have suffered more during the pandemic than others. Take a look at the job boards and reach out to those in your network to get a better understanding of who is hiring and what skills are in demand. Also, take some time at the beginning of your job search to sort out what you want in your next job.

  • Make time for digital networking. There’s no denying the power of a strong professional network — especially when you’re changing careers. In addition to helping you uncover unpublished opportunities and new job-search resources, your network can also help you understand how your qualifications could be best leveraged in a different field or sector. Traditional networking events may not be possible right now, but that shouldn’t stop you from reconnecting with contacts, meeting new people in your desired industry or field, and conducting informational interviews — all from the safety of your home.

  • Find your bridge. When you’re considering a major career change, it’s best to find what we call a “bridge,” — a common denominator between your previous experience and your new career direction. For instance, you might target organisations which cater to a similar customer base or geographic region, work in a complementary industry or interact with a similar group of vendors, in addition to capitalising on some of the top skills you’ve honed over the years.

  • Fill in the gaps. As your new career goal becomes clearer, so will the list of requirements you’ll need to impress an employer. If you realise there’s a skill or knowledge gap you need to fill in order to successfully change careers, now’s the time to fill it. Look for online courses or certification programmes that will help you become a more qualified candidate.

  • Reframe your CV and LinkedIn profile. Review your application materials with your new career goal in mind to determine what information should be highlighted and what is best to downplay or omit entirely. In addition, consider what details you previously left off your CV or LinkedIn profile that are now relevant and noteworthy. You may also need to translate your previous experience and accomplishments into terms your new target employer will appreciate. Once you’ve edited your CV, request a free, professional review to ensure it’s positioned for success.

For more information on how to create a career-change action plan, visit TopCV’s blog.


Between 10 February and 10 March 2021, TopCV surveyed 3,462 UK professionals actively seeking work. The questions asked, responses and percentage of respondents are as follows:

 

Have you changed jobs within the past 12 months?

 

  • I have not changed jobs within the past 12 months – 70%

  • I COMPLETELY changed careers, different role, industry AND company – 12% / 38% of changers

  • I changed ROLES but stayed in the same COMPANY – 6% / 20% of changers

  • I changed ROLES and COMPANIES but stayed in my current INDUSTRY – 5% / 18% of changers

  • I changed COMPANIES but accepted a similar type of ROLE – 5% / 15% of changers

  • I changed INDUSTRIES and COMPANIES but accepted a similar type of ROLE – 3% / 9% of changers

 

How has the pandemic altered your career plans? Please tick all that apply.

 

  • The pandemic has not changed my career plans whatsoever – 25%

  • Recent events have caused me to reflect on what I want from my career/employer, so I’m looking for something new – 37% / 49% affected

  • I was made redundant and/or furloughed and am actively looking for work – 26% / 35% affected

  • I’m forced to look for work outside my current field/industry until the job market recovers – 14% / 18% affected

  • I’m an hourly worker and my hours have dramatically decreased. I’m now actively looking to supplement that time lost – 8% / 10% affected

  • Home schooling and childcare challenges have forced me to look for a more flexible role – 6% / 8% affected

  • I’m putting my job search on hold until the job market recovers – 3% / 4% affected

Which best describes the type of role you’re currently seeking?

 

  • Operations and general management – 18% / 18% recent job changers

  • Healthcare – 14% / 15% recent job changers

  • Engineering and construction – 13% / 14% recent job changers

  • Sales and business development – 13% / 13% recent job changers

  • Human resources and legal – 9% / 8% recent job changers

  • Technology – 9% / 8% recent job changers

  • Accountancy and finance – 9% / 7% recent job changers

  • Media, marketing and design – 7% / 8% recent job changers

  • Project and programme management – 5% / 5% recent job changers

  • Science and education – 4% / 4% recent job changers

 

About TopCV

TopCV, a Talent Inc. company, is the world’s premier CV-writing service, analysing millions of CVs and LinkedIn profiles each year. Job seekers work directly with professional writers and industry experts to redefine their personal brand and stand out from the crowd during the job-search process. Follow TopCV on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.

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