Why do 68% of Australians want to change careers?



SEEK has just released their latest Employment Trends Survey - http://ow.ly/XapZ1  

The results were really insightful,  indicating a upward shift in job postings but in some cases a drop in candidate applications across many  industries.  



What was the most alarming statistic was that  : “68% of Australian workers would like to change industries”

WOW !   That is NOT just  about changing “companies/jobs”, it's about getting the "hell out of their current “industry”.   The ramifications are broad and concerning and gives rise to a “call to action” for many industries.  From my experience, I would suggest we could break that 68% of people into 2 groups :

30% - Determined and motivated to change careers and plan to do so. They have a strong sense of self and awareness of their skills. At their core is “Hope” for a better and more rewarding and aligned career.

70% - Not overly motivated to change careers due mostly to a lack of confidence, direction, , self awareness of their unique skills and abilities and sometimes laziness.  But “Fear” is the key reason they will stay in their current industry and career. 

But in both groups there will be levels of disengagement and dissatisfaction of varying intensities.   The 30% may still be operating at full capacity and engagement UNTIL they make the big switch.    But how many of those people “forewarn” their managers of their intentions ?   Mostly they don't, and this leaves a big "unexpected" talent mapping gap.   OR, they will have often  "virtually left the building",  be disconnected, lose productivity and drain the rest of the team down covertly  before their physical departure.

The 70% will be the ones who may change “companies” but still stay within their career sector.  Though often its just the “same crap, different company” syndrome.   If they do stay in the same company there is often a drop over time in output and creativity, increased absenteeism and demotivation. Sometimes though, people stay on (and grumble like crazy) because they “love their colleagues”.   So of course there are many variables.

Too many industries have pretty dismal workplace and PR track records, and this "68% statistic" is  a  clear signal to “re-evaluate & lift their game ”.  But the only way they can do that is for  an entire industry  to band together to totally change their workplace, staff expectations, employee attraction, retention and engagement processes and cultures broadly.  A big but crucial call!   

Interestingly, over the years I had met with many people who were “gung ho” that they wanted “out” of the advertising industry.  Probing deeper, I often discovered it wasn’t that they hated the “work per se” but that their discontent was borne by the culture of their current or last few company experiences. Again a case of  "same crap, different company".  That was  really sad because these people actually loved many aspects of their job and had so much to offer.    It was a great outcome when I was able to convince some that not all companies were the same  and  they subsequently joined a fabulous new company.  But those situations were far too rare. 

How many talented people is your industry losing ? 

For the 30% who are determined to change careers, they often do not succeed easily or quickly because they just don’t know how to communicate their transferrable skills and value proposition into a new sector.   And the delay in success means that they often remain "stuck in their current industry/role"

One of the difficulties therein is also the illogical & lazy mindsets of HR and hiring managers to be smart and look at different candidates (apart from those working in the same industry).  But it is also the responsibility of  job applicants to make it easier for them to say   “hey lets arrange an interview”.  People who re-train, go back to university will often also stumble across some difficulties - but they are not insurmountable – it’s a matter of your influencing  and communication skills . 

Remember the adage from Anthony Robbins :  "Success is 80% psychology, 20% mechanics"

Rounding Up

Industries and companies need to evaluate their workplace PR and all staff engagement and attraction processes. If your industry has a poor cultural and workplace reputation - you must urgently review and change to ensure your industry is well received and respected across internal & external issues. They must also encourage staff to “speak their human truth”. Questions and more questions to allow people to stand up and speak up. THEN you must act on issues.

For those who are in the 30% who are determined and focussed to change careers (and good on you) – you should seek some professional advice across structure planning and career transition coaching to minimise the risk and maximise your success.