What to Consider When Contemplating a Career Change
More than two years after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, workers continue to experience a longing for work that makes them feel valued, happy and satisfied. While millions of workers temporarily or permanently lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, most industries have recovered. Some industries added jobs over the past two years. Even so, more Americans have quit their jobs in the past year than at any other time in recent history. The year 2021 was called The Great Resignation by labor analysts, and with good reason. If you're considering a career change in 2022, here are some important factors to keep in mind when making your decision.
Hybrid Work Environment
A recent Gallup report on what workers want from their employers showed that about 91% of employees were working at least some of their hours remotely. For most of them, that remote work location was their residence. Most workers want to keep at least some of their work hours at a remote location. The survey showed that about 50% of employees would like to split their time between working at home and working in the central office.
There are many benefits to a hybrid work environment. It affords you the ability to partner with coworkers, precept or train new hires, learn from mentors and socialize. The hours you work at home reduce the costs of commuting, add flexibility if you have children or pets and lower your exposure level to others who might be sick. You also save on the hours spent commuting. Many employees like not having to wear business clothes or uniforms during all of their work hours.
Salary is one of the more obvious factors when considering a career change. Before the pandemic, salary was usually the top factor cited by people who jumped ship to a new employer and new career. However, salary considerations aren't as important to workers changing careers in 2022 as they were in 2019. Because of The Great Resignation, employers are offering higher overall wages in order to lure top talent into their organizations. Renewed interest in labor unions, such as recent developments with Amazon and Starbucks employees, demonstrate that there is power in numbers when it comes to protecting wages and worker rights.
Flexibility continues to be a top consideration when people decide whether or not to change careers. Women, especially mothers, tend to rate flexibility as their most important consideration when choosing a new career path. Millennial workers also want more flexibility. They want time for their hobbies and pets and to pursue higher education and volunteer opportunities.
If you're like most people, you don't want to wonder whether your employer or your particular job at your employer will still exist next month. Workers increasingly factor stability into their career decisions. During the pandemic, many people found that their jobs were considered disposable by their employers. People experienced involuntary pay cuts and furloughs. Workers in the travel, hospitality, childcare, education and restaurant industries were particularly affected by pay cuts and job losses. If you don't want the anxiety of a career that's unstable, you may need to research any employer that offers you a job. You may also wish to look at industry trends for total employment in that niche of the labor market before you accept a job offer. It's not unusual for a worker to choose a career that offers stability over prestige or that aligns with their personal passions.
Healthcare and Benefits Packages
If the COVID-19 pandemic has shown anything to workers, it has demonstrated how fragile the healthcare system is. Most Americans rely on employer-based health insurance. Temporary changes during the pandemic forced all insurers to cover COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and treatments. However, those measures could expire at any time. They also don't include the other healthcare services a worker might need, such as paid time off to care for a loved one or for childbirth or adoption leave. The FMLA only covers some employees. Increasing insurance premiums, co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles and decreases in the range of covered services, participating providers and networked pharmacies and facilities are also important factors. Be sure to check whether or not the healthcare providers and services you use are part of an employer's health plan. Also look at other benefits, such as vision and dental, paid time off and tuition reimbursement or assistance.