The motivations for rising career transitioning have evolved in response to changing societal, economic, and personal factors. Up to 70% of the workforce is actively looking for a career change, with only about 14% of the workforce believing that they have a great job they would not like to change. (Source) In this blog, we discuss what motivates someone to change careers during their professional life, and how to best navigate the challenges faced during transition.

MOTIVATIONS FOR CAREER TRANSITIONS

Today, many professionals are seeking careers that align with their values, passions, and sense of purpose. Motivated by a desire for greater fulfillment and meaning in their work, individuals are transitioning to roles and industries that allow them to make a positive impact on society or contribute to causes they care about deeply.

According to a recent survey, the most common reason cited for transitioning careers is a salary increase. Among those who have already transitioned careers, 39% did so for a raise in pay.  (Source). The most common other reasons include changing philosophies and goals, unsatisfactory leadership, desire for greater flexibility, and job dissatisfaction (Source). You’ve heard the phrase people don’t leave companies, they leave managers? It’s true!

The importance of work-life balance and flexibility has become a significant motivator for career transitions. Professionals are prioritizing roles and organizations that offer remote work options, flexible schedules, and a conducive work environment that allows them to balance their personal and professional lives effectively. Negotiating a more lucrative salary, having more flexibility—including the ability to work remotely or on a hybrid schedule—and getting better benefits are, according to CNBC, among the top reasons people change jobs and make major career shifts. (Source)

Many individuals are motivated to transition careers to pursue new challenges, experiences, and opportunities for personal growth. Seeking novelty, variety, and intellectual stimulation, professionals may explore different industries, roles, or entrepreneurial ventures to expand their skills and broaden their horizons.

The growing awareness of mental health, well-being, and work-related stress has also motivated individuals to prioritize their health and well-being in career decisions. Professionals may transition to roles or organizations that prioritize employee wellness, offer supportive work environments, and promote a healthy work-life balance.

Woman working at desk in dark room holding laptop.

COMMON CHALLENGES 

Regardless of the reason, transitioning to a new career can be exciting but extremely  challenging. One of the primary challenges is the skills gap between an individual’s previous experience and the requirements of the new career. It may necessitate acquiring new skills, certifications, or training to bridge this gap effectively. Only 21% of college graduates feel that they use most or all of their education in their current roles. (Source) This is an area we can prompt our educational system to focus more on the skills required to obtain a job, versus credits and degrees. Employers need to start being more flexible in the way they recruit for roles and can benefit from passionate people without a degree, but with the skills needed to succeed.

Among career transitioners, other commonly cited challenges include:

Uncertainty and Fear: Transitioning to a new career often involves stepping out of one’s comfort zone, which can lead to feelings of uncertainty, fear of failure, and anxiety about the unknown.

Financial Instability: Changing careers can impact financial stability, especially if there’s a temporary decrease in income or additional expenses related to training, education, or certification. Approximately 57% of respondents in a recent survey said that their top barrier for making a career change is a lack of financial security. (Source)

Experience Gap: Employers may prefer candidates with experience in the new field, making it challenging for individuals transitioning careers to compete with candidates who have a more established track record. As a result, nearly 75% of Gen X-ers expect to return to school during their working lives if it means they can land a new role. (Source)

Networking: Building a network and establishing connections in a new industry or field can be challenging, especially if the individual doesn’t have existing contacts or relationships in that area.

Personal Reflection: Transitioning to a new career can also involve a shift in one’s identity and self-image. It may require adjusting to a new professional identity, redefining skills and strengths, and building confidence in the new role.

Significant Change: Each industry and organization has its own work culture, norms, and expectations. It can take time to adapt to a new work environment, understand company policies, and navigate interpersonal dynamics.

Career transitions often require time and energy for learning, networking, and skill development, which can impact work-life balance and personal commitments. Some individuals may face challenges related to ageism or experience bias when transitioning to a new career, particularly if they are perceived as overqualified or underqualified for certain roles. Transitioning to a new career is a process that requires persistence, patience, and resilience. It may take time to land a job in the desired field, gain experience, and establish yourself professionally.

THE INFLUENCE OF AI TECHNOLOGY

The rise of AI is also contributing to several factors leading people to leave their jobs. AI-powered automation technologies can perform routine tasks more efficiently and accurately than humans. As a result, some jobs that involve repetitive or manual tasks may become automated, leading to job redundancy and prompting individuals to seek new roles or career paths.

Job Displacement: AI-driven automation and technological advancements can also lead to job displacement in certain industries or sectors. Organizations may undergo restructuring, downsizing, or reorganization efforts that result in layoffs or job changes, motivating employees to leave their current positions in search of more stable or fulfilling opportunities.

Skills Gap: The rapid pace of AI adoption and technological innovation may create skill gaps or mismatches among workers. Employees may find that their current skills are no longer aligned with evolving job requirements or industry trends, prompting them to leave their jobs to pursue reskilling, upskilling, or training programs that enhance their employability.

New Opportunities: Some individuals may be motivated to leave their jobs due to the entrepreneurial opportunities presented by new technologies. AI-driven innovations, digital platforms, and startup ecosystems offer avenues for individuals to launch their own businesses, pursue freelance work, or explore entrepreneurship as an alternative career path.

While AI brings numerous benefits and opportunities, its rise can also contribute to job displacement, skill mismatches, job dissatisfaction, and changes in work dynamics that may lead individuals to leave their jobs in search of new opportunities, career growth, or a better fit with their professional aspirations and goals.

FREE HELPFUL RESOURCES

In light of these challenges, we encourage you to explore the following free resources to enrich your journey through career transition. Each resource offers distinct advantages to help facilitate your journey:

80,000 hours — A fantastic, free resource that can help you identify and follow steps to pursue a purpose-driven career that gives back to your community.

The Muse —  A great resource for practical career advice on hundreds of topics  to support you– right where you are.

Meetup — For networking and new influential relationships, meetup is a great resource to connect with others in your community or your desired industry.

IGotAnOffer.com — Don’t leave money on the table! This is a great resource to help you negotiate your salary!

Insight Timer App — Sometimes just shifting your mindset can help you gain perspective and fast track your confidence toward a new career. For all things mindset, inspiration, affirmations, meditations, yoga, and more, checkout the Insight Timer App.

Each transition brings valuable experiences, lessons learned, and opportunities to achieve your long-term goals. At the end of the day, it is about finding work that brings happiness, meaning, and a sense of accomplishment. Believe in yourself, stay motivated, and never stop chasing your dreams.

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If you have embarked on your own career transition journey, we invite you to share your story with us! Our team is eager to hear about how you navigated your journey and the invaluable insights you gained along the way. Please reach out to us at team@kandulacommunications.com or https://kandulacommunications.com/#contact.