Half of new starters during pandemic moved from another industry


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Figures suggest the pandemic has prompted employees to rethink their career options, with more than half of those who changed jobs in the first half of this year moving into a different industry.

Some 6.1% of those employed between January to March and April to June 2020 changed occupation in the first half of this year, compared with 5.7% in the same period last year. Of those switching jobs, 52.5% moved into another major industry.

Associate professional and technical occupations saw the greatest proportion of people leave their job (20.9%) and the greatest proportion of people join the occupational group (21.2%), the Office for National Statistics data shows.

Its report says: “Workers who change major industry when they switch occupations could be searching for a change of career.

“During the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, when businesses were working in limited capacity because of travel restrictions and social distancing measures, businesses in certain industries were disproportionately affected as some were temporarily required to close. This may have encouraged occupational switching into a different major industry.”

It forecasted that job-switching would become more prevalent as support such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was withdrawn and furloughed staff looked towards other options.

Jobs platform Totaljobs said the findings aligned with the outcome of its research that found 70% of people were more likely to consider working in a different industry as a direct consequence of Covid-19.

Over half (52%) of workers who have started work in a different industry after being displaced due to Covid-19 planned to stay in their new industry, according to the job board.

CEO Jon Wilson said: “Covid-19 has changed the game for now but in the future, businesses will need to continue plugging skills shortages and think outside the box when it comes to hiring. By looking out for transferable skills rather than a certain amount of experience in your industry, employers will find fresh talent with new perspectives who also have the relevant skills for success.”

Josh Graff, UK country manager at LinkedIn, said: “Today’s figures underscore the fact that we’re facing the toughest labour market in a generation. LinkedIn’s latest data shows that although hiring in the UK has been steadily improving since the steep decline we saw when lockdown measures were put in place, it’s still down on this time last year. LinkedIn data also shows that competition for roles has increased three-fold and that workers in the hardest hit industries are looking to other sectors as they seek out new opportunities.”

According to the ONS figures, 26.9% of those who changed job between the first and second quarters of 2020, were aged 35 to 49 and 26.9% were aged 50 to 64. The ONS says this may have been because employees in this age group had a “higher incidence of transferrable skills making it easier to switch between occupations”.

Men (52.6%) were slightly more likely than women (47.4%) to switch careers.

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