UK choosing to boost fitness over careers – despite seven in ten admitting they want to change jobs

Seven in ten workers are stuck in the wrong jobs as the prospect of making a career change seems so challenging that they would rather put themselves through a punishing workout, reveals new research from LifeSkills created with Barclays.

Just three in ten UK workers want to stay in their current career for the long-term, yet the time and effort they think it will take to make a career switch – along with fears of being too old – mean that only 21% have ever taken any action to try and move into a job they truly want to do.

This is despite the fact that fewer than one in ten workers (9%) can honestly say they are in their dream job.

In fact, the prospect of tackling their career development is so daunting that over a third of workers (34%) say they would rather put themselves through a circuits class than work on their CV. Likewise, 33% would rather go to a personal trainer than start to confront a job change with a careers advisor, with the majority of 25-54-year-old workers (51%) believing that improving their fitness is much easier than bettering their job satisfaction or career prospects.

Fears of being ‘past it’ holding Brits back from making career changes

Fears of being ‘too old’ to boost their careers are also holding many people back from a happier work life. Almost half (48%) of workers think there is a cut off age to being able to make a career change.

Ironically, this feeling is particularly profound in the younger generation with more than one in ten Gen Z-ers (13%) thinking they won’t be able to make a career change past the age of 30.

In reality, however, a successful career change can be made at any age. Looking at people over 55 that have made a change at some point in their career, more than four in ten (42%) say they did so over the age of 45.

What’s more, the vast majority of these career changers have reaped the benefits of their decision. In a vote of confidence for pushing yourself to make the switch, seven in ten (71%) say that it led to them to be happy overall, while 60% describe it as the ‘best thing they’ve ever done’.

To get people moving and help them reach their career goals, LifeSkills created with Barclays has been extended to support everyone in the UK, across all ages. The programme will provide online advice and resources around the biggest areas of need for the workforce currently, such as introducing more workplace wellbeing, how to work flexibly, starting your own business and understanding the future workplace and some of the core skills needed.

LifeSkills has also partnered with Nicola Adams OBE, former Olympic boxer to offer some top tips for people looking to enter a new career arena.

Nicola Adams OBE, former Olympic boxer, said: “I’ve always made my own opportunities in life, whether that’s pioneering women’s boxing or starting out in a new field. To me, making a career change is all about that mindset: identifying what you want to do, and how to build on the skills you have to make it happen. That’s why I’m getting involved in helping others understand their true potential and get the advice they need to make the most of their careers.”

Kirstie Mackey, Head of LifeSkills created with Barclays said: “Whether entering a new industry, starting a business or building new skills to equip you for success in the workplace, making a career change can be a daunting process. However, taking the plunge needed to thrive in a rewarding and challenging career is one well worth doing; in fact, over half of career changers say it has improved their mental health. LifeSkills created with Barclays is committed to empowering adults of any age, through practical advice and resources on how to navigate any career move.”

Baroness Karren Brady CBE, Chair of the LifeSkills Advisory Council, said: “I’m a huge believer in the value of making a career switch, and I’ve learnt something new from every change I’ve made along the way in my career. Not only is making a much-needed career change better for the individual, but having a workforce that feels motivated and rewarded can only bring benefits to UK businesses and the wider economy.”