Three fifths of UK workers (60%) intend to make changes to their careers as a result of the Covid outbreak, an increase of seven percentage points since July 2020 (53%).

The research, conducted as part of Aviva’s latest How We Live report, reveals changes range from the relatively minor, such as learning new skills or gaining further qualifications, to switching career path completely.

The proportion of workers intending to find a completely different vocation has increased from 7% to 9%, while those planning to take on a role which helps others has risen from 6% to 8%.

While these increases may appear to be relatively small, growing by just two percentage points in each case, they account for nearly 700,000* additional workers on both counts.

As in July 2020, the most popular change which people would like to introduce to their occupation is the ability to work from home. This figure has stayed static at 10%, suggesting that home-working has proved a benefit of the pandemic for some.

The desire to work from home still appears to be strongest in London where one in six (16%) of workers intend to find a role which will allow them to work remotely. This figure has stayed static since July 2020. The proportion of would-be homeworkers is lowest in Scotland now, where just 5% plan to find a role which will accommodate home-working.

 

Career ambition Percentage of workers July 2020 Percentage of workers February 2021
I plan to find a role which will allow me to work from home 10% 10%
I plan to retrain / learn new skills 9% 10%
I plan to gain more academic qualifications 8% 8%
I plan to follow a completely different career path 7% 9%
I plan to find a role which helps others / makes a difference to those in need 6% 8%
I plan to set up my own business / work for myself 6% 7%
I plan to increase my working hours (e.g. part time to full time) 6% 7%
I plan to reduce my working hours (e.g. full time to part time) 6% 7%
I plan to move companies but stay in the same industry/role 5% 6%
I plan to find employment after losing my job 4% 4%
I plan to retire 4% 6%
I plan to find a new role but with the same organisation 4% 6%

 

Covid and careers within different age groups

The research also reveals some interesting insights in relation to specific age groups. People aged under 25 are most likely to want to make changes to their work plans in the next 12 months as a result of the pandemic, with 87% re-evaluating their careers.

Under-25s are more likely than any other age group to want a role where they can work from home (13%). They are also the age group most likely to be seeking a job which helps others (13%) and – perhaps predictably – to hope to gain more academic qualifications (17%).

Those in the 25-34 age group are most likely to want to retrain (14% compared to 10% across all age groups) or follow a completely different career path (14% vs 9% all ages).

At the opposite end of the working age spectrum, people are even more likely to want to retire as a result of the pandemic, than they were in July 2020. One in seven (14%) workers aged 55 and above say the pandemic has escalated their retirement plans to within the next 12 months, compared to 11% in July 2020.

 

Hobbies into careers

This latest research also suggests there are an increasing number of people who plan to turn hobbies into income streams.

In July 2020, the first How We Live study discovered 6% of people planned to turn a hobby into a career, while a further 9% saw their hobby as a way of generating a second income stream.

Both of these intentions have increased during the pandemic: now 12% of UK adults say they plan to turn a hobby into a second source of income, while 8% hope that a hobby will become a career.

This is equivalent to 10.8 million** UK adults who plan to add to their incomes or make a full-time career from what started out as a hobby.

 

Gareth Hemming, MD, Personal Lines, Aviva says: “As the pandemic has continued, an increasing number of people have given thought to what they want from their careers and now three fifths of people would like to make changes to their working lives. The extent of these changes varies: in some instances people want more flexibility, such as the ability to work from home, while others wish to change their career paths completely.


“For those who plan to become home-workers, it’s always sensible to check that they have suitable cover for their circumstances. Many home insurance policies include cover for office equipment. However, a standard home insurance policy may not be adequate if someone wishes to run a business from their home, particularly if they have stock on site or customers visiting their property. To be absolutely certain, it’s always best for people to check with their insurance provider.”


References

Data relates to a survey of 4,000 randomly selected UK adults aged 16 and upwards, carried out by Censuswide Research on behalf of Aviva between 10 – 15 February 2021. Where a comparative study from July 2020 is referenced, this relates to a similar survey of 4,002 UK adults, carried out by Censuswide Research between 10-17 July 2020.

* 682,740 workers, based on 34,137,000 economically active people in the UK October – December 2020: Source: Labour Force Survey.

** Based on ONS population estimates of 53.8 million adults aged 16 and above https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/adhocs/10727populationestimatesanddeathsbysingleyearofageforenglandandwalesandtheuk1961to2018

 

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.