More than half of Americans are thinking of changing careers due to COVID-19

NEW YORK — Are you one of the people considering a “pandemic shift” while stuck at home? A new survey finds 42 percent of Americans have had a “career lightbulb” moment during COVID-19.

The OnePoll survey of 2,000 Americans between 18 and 35 years-old reveals more than half (54%) have strongly considered changing their careers in the past six months due to the lockdown. These workers live in heavily-populated states like California, Arizona, Texas, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

The current climate has reinvigorated people toward pursuing a career that is more fulfilling than their current one. During the pandemic, 67 percent have actively considered pursuing a different career — one that actually makes them happy.

Career changes are about feeling ‘fulfilled’

The study, commissioned by Universal Technical Institute, aimed to discover how COVID-19 has impacted people’s next steps in their career choices. The poll revealed more than half (53%) are currently looking for a new job that would allow them to avoid ever stepping foot in an office again.

Three in five respondents don’t think office jobs will come back after the COVID-19 pandemic. The study also finds people are looking for new experiences when it comes to their careers. More than half (52%) said they would love to have a job where they could work with their hands.

Nearly half (49%) want a career in which they feel valued, with 42 percent saying they have thought about pivoting to a job in a skilled trade. Making the decision to pursue something new and different takes time however, as researchers find it takes the average respondent six months to make a major career decision.

When embarking on a career change, three in 10 Americans searched for information about schools and training institutions to get started.

“Seeking a new career is a massive decision for many people. During these uncertain times with record numbers filing jobless claims, more and more Americans have begun re-thinking what they truly want when it comes to their jobs and careers,” says Eric Severson, UTI’s Senior Vice President of Admissions, in a statement. “People want to be fulfilled and happy going to work each day.”

Getting the most from your education

Currently, Americans feel like they aren’t even putting their degrees to good use. Forty-two percent of those surveyed reveal they aren’t currently working in a field related to their degree.

So when do these lightbulb moments tend to occur? The average respondent said they began thinking about changing careers in general at age 28. No matter your age though, 68 percent of respondents say it’s never too late to pursue a new career.

“Making a career shift through training for a skilled trade, is not only possible, but can be extremely rewarding. Many of our graduates say they enjoy their careers, love working with their hands and don’t want to sit at a desk all day,” Severson adds. “Especially now, during record national unemployment, when demand for skilled technicians and welders continues and remains, fast-track training for a skilled trade is an option that could make sense and make you happy too.”

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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