Should Fatima quit her dreams of being a ballerina and work in “cyber”, (whatever that is)? Yes, says a UK government campaign. The ads urge people in careers made “vulnerable” by the pandemic to “Rethink. Reskill. Reboot.” into wildly different employment.
Predictably, online jokers and those in the battered arts sector have suggested alternative careers for a number of senior officials such as “litter-picker”. Even a Government minister called it “crass”. But two things are true. Firstly, the UK faces a severe shortage of candidates working in a number of areas including tech. Secondly, live, public performance isn’t coming back any time soon. New York’s Broadway, for instance, will remain shuttered until at least May 30 2021. There’s another, third, thing: the average person changes careers between five and seven times during their working life.
It may not be quite so drastic a change as Fatima’s, but career shifting happens frequently and companies are keen to hire people with transferable skills from any industry. Despite this, so many people think changing careers is unwise or impossible.
If you have graduated recently, you might think moving to a new career might be a waste of your expensive degree. Maybe you have been in the same career for ages and–quite frankly–you don’t think anyone else would hire you. But this isn’t true at all: In fact, 30% of workers now change careers or jobs every 12 months!
Companies want career shifters
While sectors such as catering, public performance and sports are wilting in Covidworld, the digital economy is thriving.
Companies are scrambling to find employees and “a lack of digital skills could jeopardise companies with misaligned talent plans,” according to Gartner, “creating urgent pressure on HR leaders to work with their CEO, CFO and CIO to rethink skills needs as business models change at light speed.”
In fact, according to a survey by McKinsey & Company, 87% of companies are experiencing skills gaps or expect them within a few years. As companies look to fill the gaps, the skills they are seeking are not so much the vocational ones (otherwise there wouldn’t be a gap in the first place!) but, instead, people who possess required soft skills. They want people with empathy, resilience, time-management, communication, etc., who can learn quickly on the job.
Firms see the value career shifters bring to their companies: flexibility, ambition, expertise in multiple areas and willingness to learn. They are focused not on what work you do, but how you work.
You can read about PitchMe candidate Darya who made a career shift from journalism to becoming a UX Designer here.
Is it time for a change?
So much for industry’s needs. But what about yours? Maybe something is “off” with your current work. Perhaps you are thinking about a change or struggling to find a new job in your area. Could it be you dislike your day-to-day work, don’t feel energised anymore, or sense your growth has plateaued?
What if that is opportunity knocking? Don’t leave changing careers at the bottom of your list of options. Open your mind to new sectors or types of career. After all, as Emma Knowles from Prospect says: “Finding fulfilling work can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health, your relationships, your self-esteem, and even, over time, your bank balance.”
How do I know what career I should change to?
Luckily, there’s a ready-made way to discover what sort of job you might be suited to.
Head to PitchMe and fill out a SmartMe profile. That will enable you to identify your soft and hard (vocational) skills, By linking your digital profiles, useful documents and answering a few questions, your profile will show you your true skillset; where you are going, not just where you have been.
After that, find out the different jobs and industries you could shift to now. Using your SmartMe profile, the ‘find a job’ function lists all the jobs you are matched to based on your skills. You might have a dream job in mind and not yet have the skills or experience needed. PitchMe will suggest classes to teach you the skills you need.
The global pandemic has been awful for many of us and the future and the jobs market remain uncertain. But it also creates opportunities for those open to shifting careers into the digital realm or many other sectors which have skills gaps.