woman thinking with arrows and question marks coming from head

Changing careers – is it a good idea?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

It’s a question most of us don’t escape during childhood. Some people know exactly what job they want, and about 30% of them will end up working in their childhood dream job.

simpsons characters asking what's your dream?

What about those of us who don’t know what we want to do, even after we’ve grown up?

Throughout our lives we will take jobs for different reasons. To follow a passion. To get experience. To get a better job. Sometimes we just need the money.

If you haven’t found the job that’s right for you, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Changing careers – you’ll do it more than once

Gone are the days where you get a job and stay in it until you retire. Changing careers is not a bad thing these days.

The average person will change their career five times in their life. They’ll also work for 17 different employers by the time they retire.

Career changes can happen by choice or by force. Changes in the economy and the employment market mean some jobs aren’t as common as they used to be, like:

  • assembly line workers
  • library assistants
  • machine and plant operators
  • shearers
  • switchboard operators

People in these industries could have to branch out into new types of work as demand for these jobs shrinks.

The amount of time people stay in a single job is also going down. The average time spent in a job is a little less than 3.5 years. Younger people tend to stay in jobs for a lot less time than older people. The average for under 25s is around 1.5 years and for over 45s it’s 6.5 years.

What to do when it’s time for a career change

If you’re thinking about a career change, check out what jobs are in demand and plan your next steps.

Planning is important when changing careers

You will need to figure out a few things before changing careers:

  • Do you have transferrable skills that will let you move smoothly to a new role?
  • Do you need to get a new qualification or update your skills?
  • Do you want to work for someone else or start your own business?
  • Do you have your own resources or someone who can support you while you transition?

Search for jobs online and find out what support is available to you at the jobactive website. If you are facing retrenchment, What’s Next has information and resource that could help.

Images: iStock, giphy


  1. Why do you need to change your job when you have many years experience
    You can show your skill to other and help the youngest one

    1. Thanks for your comment Saeed. You’re absolutely right – experienced workers are really important when it comes to helping younger employees learn skills.

      We also know a lot of people do decide to change careers for one reason or another, and we hope this blog post makes that decision a little easier.

      Have a great day!

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