How old is 'too old' when it comes to switching careers?

Recent surveys show up to half of the workforce are considering switching career paths, and unprecedented numbers are doing something about it, in what’s becoming known in media circles as ‘The Great Resignation.’

But for everyone who makes the jump, there are plenty more agonising about the costs and benefits of giving up their current career path.

For most of us, by the time we hit our 40s or 50s, we’ve got some wins under our belt, and benefit from some level of seniority and expertise that helps reinforce the logic of sticking with our current career path.

For most people an in-built level of lifestyle commitments dictates a certain minimum income expectation. It’s great to consider a fresh start but the bills still need paying and things we take for granted like holidays don’t pay for themselves.

The later in your career any change is made, means you’ve got a shorter working life for any time and cost investment in retraining to recoup your commitment.

While these factors combine to support inertia, dissatisfaction with existing roles and longer working likes mean that considering a career change can make sense. After all, enjoying your work is a key to your overall wellbeing and happiness.

When considering a career change there are five key questions to ask yourself: 

1.       How long will it take to retrain?

2.       Will I be able to keep working while I retrain?

3.       What transferable skills will I be able to take from my current career?

4.       Will I be able to earn what I need to give me the lifestyle I want?

5.       Are there sufficient job opportunities in my new career to help me get started?

Career paths where it’s possible to retrain in months rather than years are advantageous, especially for later career switchers. Fortunately, it’s possible to get professional qualifications for in-demand roles in marketing, technology and project management in six months or less.

Education options that offer flexible learning can provide a smoother transition compared to having to leave your current job to study on a full-time basis. Here options for online learning offer ease of accessibility but may lack the immersive learning experience and graduation rates achieved from campus-based programmes.

At Pitman Training local campus locations offer flexible part-time in-person learning, including evening classes to provide the optimum learning experience backed up by the convenience of online learning. This combination ensures that all lifestyles and shift patterns can be accommodated.

Identifying suitable career paths for your next chapter, involves identifying what you like and don’t like to do. The chances are that there will be parts of your current job that you enjoy and are good at. Harnessing these can provide impetus to your need career and lessen the notion that you’re having to go back to square one.

Many career switchers consider self-employment or starting a new business as a means to gain control over work patterns and earnings. Building marketing and finance skills alongside the specific skills required for your next venture form an essential part of making a success of any new venture.

Education providers that can provide business courses alongside your career programme will help provide the breadth of skills support to maximise the speed of return on your investment.

Ultimately choosing whether to change direction is a highly personal decision and not one to be undertaken lightly whether you’re in your 30s, 40s, 50s or later. 

Taking the time to explore your options, the commitment required to achieve your goals, and the size of the opportunity available in your new career, will enable you to evaluate whether the grass is likely to be greener with a change of direction.