One in four want to change our life

Victoria Beckham arriving for the 2013 Glamour Women of The Year Awards, Berkeley Square, London. 04/06/2013

This New Year we're all looking ahead to what the future holds. But new research shows that we're more likely than ever to be considering a major life change as part of that future.

One in four people will opt for a career reinvention at some point in our lives (like Victoria Beckham has). But why do we want to make this change, and how can we ensure it is successful?


The research, from Scottish Widows, found that older people tended to have a job for life, with fewer than a third of people in their 70s saying that they changed their career path during their working life. Meanwhile, those under the age of 30 are twice as likely to drastically change career directions, with nearly two in three (65%) saying they have already changed careers at least once or are planning to in the near future.

According to Professor Wendy Loretto, University of Edinburgh Business School, individuals are increasingly taking responsibility for their own careers paths due to the demise 'the job for life' mentality, fewer opportunities for progression and uncertainties over job security and the recognition that they are likely to be working much longer now."

"As people adapt to all of the factors changing our career environments – from the unstable financial climate, technological innovations, and an ageing working population – they are realising the need to be more self-reliant in achieving their ultimate aspirations, and this often means reinventing themselves to start on a new path."

Beyond following their passions, 35% want a change because we're unhappy in our current job, and 31% of us simply want to earn more money.

However, making the change isn't always easy. People see lack of finances as the biggest barrier towards reinvention (45%), followed by lack of confidence (35%), and demands of family (28%). Over a quarter (28%) of Brits feel apprehensive about career changes, and more than one in ten (12%) find it fearful.


The answer to making a successful change is preparation. The researchers found that those under 30 are the most prepared for change; 62% of people in this age group who reinvented themselves were aware of the costs involved and put a plan in place in advance.

Ideally you need to think about how you will bring about the change and how you will finance it. You will also need to think about how long it will take to begin earning in your new role, and how you will bridge the gap. Increasingly people are launching their new career - such as starting business or taking steps to retrain - alongside their current role, to reduce the risks if their new career fails.

It's also essential to be realistic. Do you have the skills and experience to make a go of your new career? Can you realistically make enough money to live off? You should speak to others in the business about their experiences and the pros and cons to ensure you have a clear picture of your new life before you make any changes.


When it comes to celebrity reinventions, the nation believes Victoria Beckham has been the most successful as she navigated a career change from pop star to fashion designer. Brits also rate the reinventions of Arnold Schwarzenegger (actor to US governor) and John Bishop (pharmaceuticals sales to comedian).

Top celebrity transitions

Victoria Beckham (pop star to designer) 26%
Arnold Schwarzenegger (actor to politician) 18%
John Bishop (pharmaceuticals salesman to comedian) 15%
Harry Hill (doctor to comedian) 15%
Brian Cox (rock star to astrophysicist) 15%
Myleene Klass (classical musician to pop star to TV presenter) 10%
Vinnie Jones (footballer to actor) 9%
Kim Wilde (pop star to gardener) 8%
Gwyneth Paltrow (actor to singer to chef) 7%
Hugh Dennis (marketing consultant to comedian) 6%
Dwayne Johnson (American footballer to wrestler to actor) 6%

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