Career Change Is on the Rise in Lockdown

With many employees across the UK now working from home, the current pandemic has given Britains time to really slow down and evaluate their careers.

The Government has predicted that by the end of the scheme, 7-10 million workers will have been furloughed from their job role. With the free time employees have had to look over their skills and careers, many have been rethinking their work choice and whether they want to return to their job at all.

For employees working from home, the reality of commuting has set in as the lockdown brings a much needed flexibility to many people’s working lives. Across the UK, this has caused professionals to evaluate their role and consider the possibility of a career change.



To assess the extent of potential job changes across the employment market, we conducted an analysis of Google search data to see how the pandemic has impacted careers in the UK.

Google data comparing January 20’ to May 20’

Search Term Increase in interest
I want a new job 194%
Job change 157%
How to move jobs 138%
Move careers 138%
How to quit my job 48%
Find a new job 46%
Career change 36%



Jayne Harrison, Head of Employment Law at Richard Nelson LLP commented:

“We have seen a significant rise in the number of employees dissatisfied with their current role, echoed by the Google search data which shows a 194% increase in searches for “I want a new job” in May. The pandemic has meant that many individuals have had the sudden opportunity to work remotely and experience the flexibility of not commuting. This has caused their priorities to shift as they begin to see the value of greater flexibility and added time at home.


“With many employees feeling dissatisfied about being furloughed, they have had the time to properly evaluate their job role and the firm they work for. This has caused a significant rise in employees assessing which opportunities are available to them outside of their current position, adding to their own skillset and using the time to apply to new roles.”



Matt Lewis, Director of Hays Public Services provided insight for those seeking a new job in the pandemic:

“It’s an uncertain time for all of us at the moment so looking into the future of your career might seem daunting. However, if changing career, it will be helpful to reassess your career goals at least for the short term so you can really target your search. Consult an expert on those markets and sectors that are either more resilient or are likely to grow – and there will be some – as we emerge from lockdown.”

We asked Steven Ebbers, Head of Product and Self Development Coach at Uprise Academy, for his top tips for those considering a career change in the current environment:

The COVI-19 pandemic has taken away many things, but for some it has also given us something in return. A very precious gift for us as human beings…Time. It’s given us time to think, time to reflect. About who we are and what we want. From there we start to think about work, is this really the job I want to be doing? Am I making the most of my career?

Very valid questions, considering you’ll be working about 90.000 hours in your life. I’ve outlined 7 brief tips for those considering a career change.

1. Think outside the box

When we think about career change very often we tend to look at the past and our skills and apply this to the future. We forget there is so much more we could do. What might help is to write out 3 alternative career paths, some maybe unconventional for someone with your skills, just to open up barriers. Look up The Hero’s Journey and apply this to your career, what could your “unknown world look like?


2.  Develop a Personal Mission

You want to change careers but where to start? We need to narrow down the search. The best way of doing this is by developing a personal mission. A tangible statement that is deeply meaningful to you that guides your decision making. Think of it as your North Star.

Your Personal Mission is bigger than any job, it describes what has meaning to you, how you want to make an impact and the skills you have that help you with the execution. From there you can start seeing what’s out there that aligns with this mission, or maybe you’ll have to do it yourself.


3. Reversible Experiments

If you are thinking of changing industries or doing a completely different job, don’t dive straight into the deep end. You need to test your assumptions and gather data. A way to do this is to design reversible experiments. Thinking of getting into journalism? Write 3 blog posts. Thinking of starting an adventure travel company? Organise an adventure trip for 5 friends.


4. Community

Career change is hard and scary, it comes with a lot of uncertainty. What of things don’t work out? To go through this period of change it can be incredibly helpful to go through it with a community of people who are going through the same thing. You can share little wins and roadblocks, brainstorm on new directions and hold each other accountable. It can make a massive difference to know you are not alone.


5. The Hidden Job Market

“No”, “I’m not good enough”, “Don’t have the experience”…There is nothing more demotivating than endlessly scrolling through job listings. But here’s a fun fact: 70-80% of jobs are never advertised! These jobs are filled internally or come via personal networks. So instead of looking for a job on a job board develop a personal mission and start having conversations with people who are in industry you find meaningful. LinkedIn is perfect for this. “Hi Jane, I love what you do and it would be great to have a conversation with you to learn more about X”, a message like this goes a long way.


6. Solve the right problem

So you know what you don’t want….but what is it you do want? Instead of running away, make sure you move towards something. Otherwise odds are that you’ll experience the exact same problems in your new environment. A good way to do this is to do a “Needs Analysis”, what boxes need to be ticked? Do you really need to change careers, or just have a good conversation with your boss? Where are you willing to compromise? How have you been complicit in creating the conditions you say you don’t want and what can you do to change that in the future?


7. Embrace the unknown and feel alive!

Define what success would look like for you, think bigger than in jobs. When is it you feel alive? When do you feel challenged? How do you want to make an impact? How important is a salary versus doing something meaningful?

Adopt an entrepreneurial mindset, embrace the unknown and the uncertainty that comes with it. That’s exactly where life happens…when you try new things and aren’t sure it’s going to work out. Maybe you’ll even fail? So what! Get back up, learn and try again.


Richard Nelson LLP’s specialise in employment law services for employees and are ready to help individuals facing implications in the workplace. We are experienced in handling issues such as workplace disciplinaries, harassment and discrimination.

Get in touch with one of The Times’ Best Law Firms of 2020 today.


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