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More than half of workers say they’re looking for a career change

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About 58% of workers responding to a recent survey said they’re looking to make a career change right now, and another 25% have already tried or successfully made a change recently, according to a new report by FlexJobs. 

“The workforce has experienced significant changes over the past few years. From the Great Resignation to frequent layoffs to the mass adoption of AI, professionals around the world have shifted the way they think about work,” Jessica Howington, senior content manager for FlexJobs, wrote in the report.

In the survey of 2,600 working professionals, the respondents who said they were considering a career change listed priorities such as remote work, higher pay, better work-life balance and more meaning or fulfillment.

About 42% of those surveyed said they’re actively debating quitting their job, and another 20% have already quit. In last year’s survey, professionals named benefits, stability and the COVID-19 pandemic as top concerns, while this year workers highlighted flexibility, a healthy working environment and being valued.

For instance, the top reason for quitting was poor work-life balance, followed by low or unfair pay, a toxic company culture, disrespect, limited advancement opportunities and too much stress. Others noted they had a bad boss or the company values and their personal values were misaligned.

In recent years, more workers have pointed to career clarity and growth opportunities when looking for a new job, according to a Lattice report. For some workers, stalled career growth has been tied to a lack of mentorship and reduction in one-on-one time with managers.

As HR professionals and leaders consider what this may mean for recruitment and retention, it’s important to look at the trends among industries and generations. For instance, younger workers in the Generation Z and millennial cohorts may be the most open to a new career change or industry switch, according to a BambooHR survey. They named several industries as top choices, including healthcare, business and professional services and arts and entertainment.

Overall, workers seem optimistic about the future of their careers, though not necessarily with their current employers, according to a new report. That means the labor market may rely on “free agent” talent throughout this year. In addition, retention initiatives could highlight mentorship opportunities, upskilling and internal career advancement.

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