The events and disruption of 2020 will go down in history as a turbulent year unlike any other. There is no denying the instability that it has caused and the plough it has taken to the job market. But, beyond the disturbance, the loss and the questionable lockdown haircuts, the pandemic has served as a propellent for many workers wanting to change career path.
So, why are so many adults opting to change professions in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic? Well, in part, because the ‘new normal’ truly has become that, a new way of living. Adults have been forced to shift from the norm and reassess their daily activities. Government data shows that, during lockdown, we spent on average 44 more minutes a day doing free-time activities than we did five years ago. For some of us, this was spent finding out exactly how bad our general knowledge was in the 17 virtual pub quizzes we had each week, but for others, this extra time was an opportunity to reconnect with lost hobbies, identify new interests and shape new transferable skills. With this, people have been inspired to change career directions towards new and lost loves. This is even more so in those who haven’t been able to go to work because of temporary business closures, with recent figures suggesting that 11.2 million people are currently being furloughed under the government’s job retention scheme. More time at home has allowed our country’s workers to pause and consider vocational prospects in a time where we would have otherwise been swept up in the busyness of life.
For others, many of the reasons to stay in a job have been withheld due to pandemic restrictions. This is particularly so in terms of socialising, where colleague friendships act as a key motivator in the workplace. Away from the office friendships that used to pull us into work on Monday mornings, many people have been able to objectively question what they want from their jobs. Where countless businesses have sadly had to close their doors under the financial strain of lockdown, others have flourished in an increasingly online world. In just one example, the online clothing chain Asos has recently launched a £90 million initiative to create 2,000 jobs for those budding to work in the fashion industry. The virus has also led many of us to reassess our priorities and consider changing direction to health-related and care positions. This was shown in UCAS’ 2021 cohort of nursing students as the number of mature applicants (those over the age of 21) rose by 24% since last year.
Beyond this, COVID-19 has entirely reshaped the way that most organisations work, with many experts predicting that this permanent change will not cease on June 21st when lockdown fully eases. Across the country, companies have raised to the pandemic challenges and, time and again, adapted their working practices to allow business to keep operating. In response, our workforce has adapted to home call centres, solving problems from a distance and Zoom meetings. More homeworking could be here to stay and with this comes increased job opportunities, particularly for working parents and those living in remote areas. Previous negative perceptions towards homeworking are being replaced with views of saved office costs and widespread remote working has demonstrated to employers just how productive a workforce can be, even when working from home. When considering career shifts, this means that employees are no longer restricted to just those roles in commuting distance and the field has opened in more remote sectors.
You may be reading this blog as someone who has recently decided to change career paths or has been floating the idea on the back-burner for some time. Either way, it is important to think about your motivations for changing path and the qualifications or experience you’ll need to get there. Once you’ve decided on where to go, it’s time to start applying! At Oxbridge Personal Statements, we have a team of committed and diligent application experts. Whether it is preparing a bespoke, professional personal statement, adapting a draft or editing your CV up to current, high-quality standards, we are here to help. As the saying goes, a journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step. If you’re unsure which service you need, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team and we’ll find the right product to meet your needs.