Industry Research : Money and Lifestyle Issues Driving Career Change for South African Workers
The concept of having one career throughout your working life is changing, with more than half of all South African respondents saying they expect to switch careers within the next five years.
This is according to the Kelly Global Workforce Index™, a survey from global workforce solutions leader Kelly Services containing the views of approximately 97 000 people in 30 countries including the opinions of more than 1 000 South Africans thanks to the collaboration of JSE-listed employment services provider the Kelly Group. The two companies signed a global partnering agreement in June last year.
The main cause, cited by 31% of respondents, is the need for higher income, followed by changing personal interests (27%), the need for improved work-life balance (21%), and concerns that their industry is in decline (11%).
We are seeing a surprisingly large number of people who are actively considering the critical issue of whether they should change their careers and make a fresh start," said Kelly Global.
For an earlier generation, a change of career would have been something of a crisis, however today, it is seen as a reflection of shifts in demand for different skills and occupations, as well as changing personal interests on the part of employees.
One sign of the shifting attitude to career interruption is that more than three-quarters (80%) of those surveyed believe they could resume their career at the same level after taking a break for such things as maternity or paternity leave, illness or an extended holiday.
Gen Y (aged 18-29) are the most confident of resuming their career following a break, with 82 percent confident they could do so, compared with 80 percent of Gen X (aged 30-47), and 76 percent of baby boomers (aged 48-65).
Results of the survey in South Africa show:
•The industry sectors in which employees will face the greatest likelihood of career change are Contact Centre/Customer Service, Oil & Gas, Utilities, and Government.
•In determining the most important elements in a person’s career – experience or formal education – the vast majority (79 percent) nominate experience, while 19 percent cite formal education and 2 percent are undecided.
•Most respondents (64 percent) say that when looking for a job, the best indicator of a person’s talent is their work experience, followed by performance in the job interview (18 percent), job references (12 percent) and education (6 percent).
•More than three-quarters of respondents (77 percent) say they aspire to an executive position, while 17 percent do not, and 6 percent are undecided.
•The main reasons for avoiding executive positions are concerns about pressure and stress, cited by 33 percent, followed by the impact on work-life balance (30 percent), and inadequate skills or education (17 percent).
•95% say that it is either "extremely important" or "important" that qualifications and skills be upgraded in order to progress their career.
As individuals take greater control of their careers, there is a likelihood of employees moving in and out of the workforce for both professional and lifestyle reasons. Employers and employees will both need to adapt to this new workplace reality, where the smooth career pathway will be the exception rather than the rule.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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