Millions of Britons eye changes to working life

A staggering two-thirds of UK workers - some 22 million people - have ambitions to make some sort of change to their careers over the next 12 months, according to a new survey published by insurance giants Aviva.

Image of person holding box of office belonging and plant
Aviva's latest How We Live report, based on interviews with more than 4,000 randomly-selected workers across the age range, indicated that the number seeking change had increased by five percentage points since a similar study at the start of the year."The intended changes vary greatly, ranging from reducing hours, to moving roles within an organisation, to choosing a different career path completely," reported Aviva.

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Reskilling, relearning and restarting

Since the early summer 2020, the number planning to set up their own business had increased from six to eight per cent, meaning some 2.7 million people now harboured such intentions.There were also an increase, to ten per cent, in the total seeking roles that would allow them to work from home, while 11 per cent wanted to retrain or upskill and nine per cent who favoured obtaining additional academic qualifications.Only eight per cent said they would actively be seeking to change companies, while staying in the same industry or role, with nine per cent anxious to follow a different career path.

Pandemic prompts flexible work rethink

Two-thirds of the workers surveyed said they believed the pandemic had resulted in companies improving their approaches to flexible working with the option to vary daily hours across the week becoming the most common "deal-breaker" when it came to accepting a new job offer.One in five workers respondents classed such flexibility as “essential” while almost many regarded as vital the ability to work from home some of the time."As a general rule, people in the 25-34 age bracket are most likely to view these benefits as essential to their role," said Aviva. "However, the need for a 'duvet day' is most common amongst under-25s – a deal-breaker for 15 per cent of people in this age group."

'Flexibility now essential'

Nicki Charles, retail managing director at Aviva General Insurance, said that although flexibility at work was growing in popularity before the pandemic, the Covid-19 outbreak had expedited progress."Benefits that were once seen as luxuries are now being viewed as essentials," she said. “While the pandemic has been devastating in so many ways, people are seeking out silver linings and a more progressive approach towards working is just one of these outcomes."After working at home for many months, some people will inevitably take time to adjust to the return to the workplace. But hybrid working enables the best of both worlds and doubtless is here to stay."

Read more news and views from David Sapsted

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