Working hours and salary the main career-change considerations

Working hours are almost as important as salary in people's searches for new jobs, according to research by the Oxford Open Learning Trust.

The new year traditionally sees a surge in self-reflection, with the opening few months often inspiring thoughts of fresh starts and reinvention. Resolutions can take many forms, from physical to personal goals, but some may also strive for a happier professional life.

According to ISL Recruitment, January and February are considered some of the busiest periods for its industry, with businesses receiving their annual hiring budgets and individuals seeking new opportunities. A poll commissioned by the Oxford Open Learning Trust has explored the major motivations behind people looking for a career change.

The YouGov survey of 2,000 adults found that while money is predictably the biggest motivator behind moving jobs (64 per cent), over half of the respondents cited working hours as an important factor (55 per cent). With people striving for a healthy work-life balance, it is perhaps unsurprising that workers are looking for employment that fits in around their lifestyle and allows them enough time to themselves.

It is also encouraging to see ‘enjoyment’ listed as the joint third most considered aspect during the job search process. Finances will always be central to a lot of career changes, but half of Brits (50 per cent) say they would follow their heart and look for jobs which align with their personal interests.

The top ten most important factors when choosing a new job are:

  1. Salary: 64 per cent
  2. Working hours: 55 per cent
  3. Location: 50 per cent
  4. Personal interest / enjoyment: 50 per cent
  5. Job security: 40 per cent
  6. Working environment: 37 per cent
  7. Opportunities for progression: 26 per cent
  8. Opportunities for training / learning a new skill: 23 per cent
  9. The opinions of my family / partner: 12 per cent
  10. Status: 9 per cent

The research found that over a quarter of British workers (28 per cent) are considering switching careers in the next decade, while 13 per cent are possibly looking to move within the next four years.

It appears that Brits are prepared to put the effort in for these new jobs, with nearly three in five UK adults (58 per cent) saying they would consider training/retraining for a new career. This figure rises to around two thirds (66 per cent) among current workers.

Dr Nick Smith, courses director and founder of the Oxford Open Learning Trust, says, ‘People often see the start of the year as a good opportunity to start afresh and plan for a brighter future.

‘Moving jobs is one way of achieving a lifestyle shift and it’s really interesting to see the main reasons why people are looking to make such changes.

‘While money is always going to be an important consideration, it is pleasing to see that the nation is looking after their own interests too, with things like location and enjoyment listed highly.’

Further reading

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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