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There are many benefits and reasons people embark on a different career path. These reasons include those that are beyond just the prospect of getting a better job or higher pay.

When someone changes careers, it gives them an opportunity to explore other avenues and be more creative. This can lead to improved self-esteem as well as an increased sense of purpose in their new role.

It’s important to keep in mind though, that while it can take some time to figure out what to do next, most people that are career changers end up being happy with the new profession they pick.

Over 39% of people who are considering career changes are motivated by higher salaries.  A scant 14 % of Americans believe they have a great job and would not change it. Around 70% of all working-age people are actively looking for a job change.

With that in mind, we will explore career change statistics and see what they tell us the best way forward is.

What Percentage of People Make a Career Change?

You often hear about people changing careers 7 times during their lifetime the problem is there is no actual data to back it up.

Statistics from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics do not include tracking changes to careers during a person’s lifetime.

So while exact data on the exact number of career change stats are scarce, there are many statistics that can provide clues.

A recent poll found that approximately half (52%) of American employees are considering making a career change this year. 44% are already planning to make the switch.

The problem with this is that not everyone has the opportunity or resources to do so. If you don’t have the money or time, it’s hard to explore your options without taking risks that might not pan out well.

Based on an Economic News Release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees with wages and salaries have worked for their current employer for an average of 4.6 years.

Nevertheless, this longevity is affected by one’s age and occupation:

  • Managers, professionals, and similar occupations reported the longest median tenures (5.5 years).
  • The median tenure of workers in service occupations was the shortest (3.2 years).
  • Workers age 65 or older have an average job tenure of (10.3 years)
  • For workers age 25 to 34, the median tenure is (3.2 years)

How long is the average career?

The length of a persons’ career will depend on the field they work in. However, over the course of a person’s lifetime, they will work on average 90,000 hours.

Looking at this further work accounts for roughly 13 years and two months of most people’s lives now. Overtime can add two extra months to your work year if you often put in extra hours. 

Over the course of a typical 50-year employment stint, almost a quarter of a person’s time is spent at work.  

What is the average age people change careers?

The average age a person changes careers is 39 years old. Workers may feel stagnated once they reach mid-career, as it could indicate that their careers are stagnating. This results in them making a career switch for new a new job opportunity.

As be people get older they change jobs less and less. Between the ages of 18 and 24, people change jobs an average of 5.7 times. The average number of job changes between 25 and 34 years old is 2.4. From 35 to 44 years of age, the average decreases to 2.9 jobs, and then to 1.9 jobs from 45 to 52 years of age.

How many jobs will the average person have in their lifetime?

It is estimated that most people will have 12 jobs during their lives. In the last year, 32% of those 25 to 44 have considered a career change. Since starting their first job after college, 29% of people have completely changed fields.

One of the main factors for these changes is the desire for a salary increase (39%)or the interest in a different field (21%) and those looking for upward mobility came in at (20%).

This same survey found that many Americans who went to school for a specific major do not utilize that major at work. In fact 21% use all of their education, 53% use half or less of the education, and 15% use none of their education in their current job

39% of college students are over the age of 25

Based on the Lumina Foundation data, 38% of undergraduate students are over 25 years old. 58% of them work while in school, and 26% are raising families. The number of students living on campus today is only 13%.

This makes sense as people deciding on new career choices are doing so at an older age. They need need additional skills and qualifications to support this change.

Thinking businessman concept

Why do people change careers?

A Salary Increase

Among those who considered changing careers or had already done so, 39% did so for a raise in pay. A career change may be the best option to increase one’s salary prospects since the typical pay increase is between 3% and 5%.

In order to get a job in your new field, a worker will have to re-educate themselves and learn new skills. They will have to go through the whole process of applying for interviews and waiting for replies. It is not easy but it can be done!

Philosophy and goals are changing 

Many employees desire to work in a field that benefits the world, such as dealing with environmental concerns or assisting underprivileged communities. As a result of a life change or new philosophy, career changes are common.

Leadership at the current company is unsatisfactory

People who feel compelled to move on usually cite the incompetence of the leadership at their current organization as another reason to leave. The performance of employees can be seriously affected by leadership problems at all levels in a company.

Among the main causes of poor leadership are poor recognition, low compensation, and minimal benefits.

Having greater flexibility in work

Career decisions are also influenced by factors such as work flexibility. Employees who are juggling a career and the demands of their personal lives often want and need a flexible role.

It is one of the many reasons people change careers in search of better work-life balance.

Unsatisfied with current career

There is a common misconception that people who want to change their career field are lazy, unmotivated, or just unappreciative. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

In reality, people who make a career change are doing it so because they don’t have job satisfaction. They may feel a need to do something different with their life.

What career is projected to have the most jobs by 2021 and beyond?

According to the bureau of labor statistics, the following are the fastest-growing occupations.

OccupationGrowth  Rate 2019-20292020 Median Pay
Wind turbine service technicians61%$56,230 per year
Nurse practitioners52%$111,680 per year
Solar photovoltaic installers51%$46,470 per year
Occupational therapy assistants35%$62,940 per year
Statisticians35%$92,270 per year
Home health and personal care aides34%$27,080 per year
Physical therapist assistants33%$59,770 per year
Medical and health services managers32%$104,280 per year
Physician assistants31%$115,390 per year


The career change statistics show us that charting a new path is not always easy and it can be difficult to know what you want to do next. There are many factors that go into making this decision. Until you find something that suits you, it can feel like an endless search.

This is where retraining can come into play. It gives you opportunity and resources without the risk involved in exploring different fields on your own. With today’s online learning systems and technology, it is easier to change one’s career path quicker than ever before.