Many UK workers think they made the wrong choice in study and career

by Barrie Hopson on October 16, 2008 · 2 comments

in Uncategorized

We often talk about one of the pluses of a portfolio career being that all of your eggs are not in one basket. The value of this is apparent when you realise that almost half of all workers in the UK say that if given the chance, they would have studied something totally different after leaving school, while one in five say they chose the wrong career, according to a new international work survey by global recruitment firm Kelly Services.

In the UK, 56% of respondents were happy with their career choice, while 20% said they had made the wrong choice and 25% were ‘not sure’. More women than men expressed the view that they had chosen the wrong career.

The global survey sought the views of 115,000 people in 33 countries including almost 7,000 in the UK.

Kelly Services MD, Chris Moore said the findings show a high level of concern about career choice and direction.

“Many people in the workforce do not believe that their education properly prepared them for working life and quite a few a have regrets about the direction that their job has taken them,” he said.

We would argue that having more than one job should minimise the likelihood of career despair. You can change one job that you are not enjoying whilst continuing with your other jobs and retaining some income while you review what you want to do next.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jo October 16, 2008 at 11:44 am

Who was it yesterday who likened a portfolio career to ‘crofting’. I like that.

Portfolio careers are too often not careers at all but clutch of part-time jobs with poor prospects.

But when think of people being in the leader of the centre of their own community, an idea I got from sociologists who study online communities, then I think we need to look at employment law and job titles to reflect the new reality of self- employment.

What do you think?

2 Barrie October 16, 2008 at 2:19 pm

We have interviewed 25 people to date none of whom would say that they have poor prospects and they certainly think they have careers. I think that the idea of part-time jobs with few prospects is rather 20th century thinking. These people and many more that we know of from research and empirical studies do not wish to have an ‘organisational’ career.

I really believe that some of the fall out from the present economic crisis will be the final nail in the coffin for jobs for life and the psychological employment contract that asks for loyalty and offers career development and a host of benifits that lock people in.

Like you I think that employment law will need revisiting but that is usually the last thing to happen. In the meantime people are actively pursuing PC’s as a desirable career option. Some return to a single track career but then some of them revert back to PC’s again. It is not a workstyle that will suit everyone by any means but it does give people much more control over their destinies and a greater opportunity to utilise all of their motivated skills.

Sorry – I feel like I am preaching! But a had an argument this week with a senior trades union official who sees portfolio work as not ‘proper work’. And of course there will be a threat to such people as portfolio workers like to negotiate their own contracts.

The data we have suggests that already there could be at least 2 million people in the UK with portfolio careers.

What do you think!

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