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Many Americans are willing to go back to school for a career switch

A quarter of employees are looking to change their careers entirely.

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The average American is willing to put themselves through two years of education to make a career switch.

That’s according to a new poll of 2,000 employed adults, where results showed that some respondents are willing to spend even longer upskilling.

Results revealed nearly one-quarter (24%) would be willing to do more than three years of training if it opened more doors in their career search.

While 33% of respondents are likely to switch jobs within the same sector, 26% of employees are looking to change careers entirely.

Perks like better pay (34%), being able to switch schedules (34%) and the opportunity for careers that weren’t around in their younger years (34%) are encouraging respondents to make the switch to a new sector.

On the other hand, respondents are concerned about not wanting to go back to an entry-level position (29%) and the potential costs (25%) associated with a career switch.

The most popular sectors respondents are looking to switch to include information research and analysis (15%), information technology (15%) and business, consulting or management (14%).

Furthermore, respondents are most interested in the technology (34%) and engineering (24%) sectors of STEAM.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of G-P  (Globalization Partners), the survey sought to uncover respondents’ attitudes about their current job as well as what they’re looking for in the future – including their feelings about changing careers and professional development.

About four in five (79%) say they are happy with their current job — but maybe not happy enough, as 45% would consider putting in their two weeks if another offer came up.

Over two in five respondents said they’d happily take a pay cut just to do a job they’d enjoy more.

Two-thirds of employees even admit that their quality of work decreases when they aren’t happy at their job.

When asked what they’d change about their current job, the work model (34%), the industry they work in (33%) and their health care benefits (31%) scored the highest.

On the flip side, their favorite parts about their current job were the work itself (25%), their co-workers (24%) and their manager (23%).

“Employees are prioritizing what means the most to them – and that includes opportunities to reskill and learn something new,” said Richa Gupta, Chief Human Resources Officer at G-P. “Investing in their engagement, well-being and creating chances for professional development provide a positive path forward now and in the future.”

At the same time, respondents already have many transferable skills — problem-solving (40%), organizational skills (35%), decision-making (34%) and teamwork (34%) are strong suits they bring to the table.

The data also highlighted the importance of looking at what prospective employers offer if they were to make a switch, with more than half (52%) valuing collaboration and communication from upper management.

Others say things like tools for work improvement or enhancement (50%) and health care benefits (46%) can make or break their decision to join a company or organization.

“This data shows that most American workers are currently, and will continue to be, invested in their professional future,” said Bob Cahill, CEO of G-P.  “People want to be prepared in times of change and ready for new opportunities and that includes considering new kinds of careers.  This is heightened by the fact that the global talent pool is undergoing a dramatic, unprecedented shift.

"If you factor in the possibility of hiring talent remotely and combine it with the willingness workers have to put in the time it takes to train and develop, employers have an opportunity to hire the team members they need for their hard to fill positions — particularly within the technology sector. This presents a clear opportunity for employers to think about how they recruit, hire and manage their workforce.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 employed Americans was commissioned by G-P (Globalization Partners) between October 19 and October 27, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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