Reasons to change your career

Everyone has different qualities they look for in their work, but there are some key elements that make people more likely to look towards a change in their specific career.

A 2014 survey by the US jobsite CareerBuilder uncovered some of the factors that make workers more likely to switch jobs or careers.

Do any of them apply to you?

1. Dissatisfaction with current position

A survey of 29 countries (including Australia) by global management consulting company Accenture, revealed that the top four causes of job dissatisfaction are low pay, a lack of opportunity to grow, no career advancement opportunities and feeling trapped.

In the CareerBuilder survey, 58% of people who were dissatisfied with their job said they were planning to make a change.

2. Job is unfulfilling

There are many different reasons why someone might feel unfulfilled at work, but research shows that factors like social support, feeling challenged, and opportunities for development and growth are very important, and a lack of these things may well leave someone feeling unfulfilled.

The CareerBuilder survey found that 45% of people who were dissatisfied with their advancement opportunities wanted a change. Of the workers who were satisfied with their career, 29% said they like the people they work with, 32% said they had a good boss who watches out for them, and 29% said they felt valued and that their accomplishments were recognised.

3. Skills are not being used to their full potential

Feeling like specific skills are being underutilised can be a big motivation to move into a new career. For example, if someone currently works as a company secretary but has always had a knack for problem solving and has great communication and negotiating skills, they may feel they could provide greater benefit if they were to upskill and pursue a career in human resources.

The CareerBuilder survey found that 39% of workers who felt underemployed, or in other words felt like their skills weren’t being used to the full, wanted to make a career change.

4. Job is highly stressful

Everyone deals with some stress at work, although certain jobs are undoubtedly more stressful than others. No longer feeling well-equipped to deal with the stress involved in a particular career is another big reason people decide to follow a new career path.

Nearly 40% of respondents in the CareerBuilder survey who said they were highly stressed at work were planning to change jobs.

5. Poor work/life balance

Work/life balance refers to the proper prioritising of both work and personal life. Even if someone is reaching all their goals at work and earning a good salary, they may still feel dissatisfied if they don’t have enough time to pursue personal interests and spend quality time with family and friends.

The CareerBuilder survey found that of the workers who reported a poor work/life balance, 39% had plans to change jobs in the near future.

6. Salary expectations are not being met

Perhaps you started your career expecting your salary to gradually increase, but it hasn’t risen as much as you thought it would, or maybe you feel that your salary doesn’t reflect the amount of work you put in. Whatever the reason, feeling underpaid is often a big motivator for someone to consider a different career.

In the CareerBuilder survey, 36% of workers who felt they had been overlooked for a promotion said they wanted to change jobs, and 28% of those who hadn’t received a pay increase said the same.

If you do find yourself considering a career change, decide whether it is simply a change in job you are looking for or a total career change. Make sure you don’t jump into any big decisions without thinking them through carefully. After all, you don’t want to throw something good away just because you’ve had a particularly bad week.

  • Think carefully

  • Ask your friends


Consider getting some advice from your friends and family before making any major, life-changing decisions. Often others can see things from an outside perspective and are more likely to be objective.