Around 6% of UK workers switched occupations in quarter after pandemic hit

Around 6% of the UK working population changed occupations in the three months after the pandemic hit, according to new figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said 6.1% of workers changed to a new occupation in the period from April to June, against the previous quarter.

Statisticians said that most people who changed jobs in the quarter after the pandemic hit also changed their industry, as large parts of the economy shut down temporarily.

The figures revealed that the proportion of people switching occupation was slightly ahead of the same period last year, when 5.7% of people changed roles.

The ONS said the “limited” rise in occupational changes is “likely to reflect the effect of the Government’s job retention schemes”.

In the report, the ONS said: “Occupational switching might therefore become more prevalent as employment support unwinds.

“As the picture continues to develop, it will be possible to further understand how occupational movements have affected the labour market.”

The new figures revealed that 52.5% of workers changing occupations also altered their main industry, switching to roles in completely different sectors.

It said that associate professional and technical roles – which include a raft of scientific, teaching and administrative jobs – saw the greatest increase, with 21.2% of people who changed occupations moving into this area.

Earlier this month, the ONS also said that around 730,000 UK workers have been removed from the payrolls of British companies since March when the coronavirus lockdown began.