Covid-19 has prompted many discussions about working environments and the future of employment, such as working from home, from a business perspective. But for millions of workers, the pandemic has led them to think carefully about their employment and the changes they’re able to make. Keith Bonner, Managing Partner and Independent Financial Adviser at Pembroke Financial Services, explains the different options being considered.
According to a survey by Aviva, 53% of UK workers plan to make changes to their careers in the next 12 months as a direct impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Keith said: “Given the changes that some workers have had to incorporate into their day-to-day role and the economic uncertainty, it’s not surprising that workers are weighing up their options.
“The research highlights the different ways workers are seeking to change their current employment status. If you’ve been feeling like you’re stuck in a rut, need more of a challenge or need to strike a better work-life balance, reassessing your current situation could help you feel more fulfilled.”
Searching for work from home options
“For many office roles, the shift to working from home has been one of the biggest trends encouraged through lockdown. With many workers finding they’re saving money by not commuting and having more time, it’s not surprising that this is the most popular option,” Keith commented.
In fact, 10% (3.4 million) of people plan to actively search for a role that will allow them to work from home permanently. The desire to work from home was particularly strong in London. While many businesses did manage the move to home working successfully, and some have announced it will stay in place once the pandemic passes, it remains to be seen whether there will be sufficient remote working opportunities to meet demand.
Retraining and learning new skills
With economic uncertainty and unemployment expected to rise, workers are also looking at ways to develop their skills.
Some 9% said they plan to retrain or learn new skills, with a further 8% aiming to gain more academic qualifications over the coming year. Some 7% hoping to follow a completely different career path supports this too. It’s a step that could help you reach goals, increase earning potential and feel more satisfied at work. This is something the government has been backing. It announced an expansion of post-18 education and training in a bid to increase productivity, including flexible loans to pay for courses.
Moving retirement plans forward
For some, a change to their working life means giving it up completely. 1.4 million (4%) people intend to speed up retirement plans and stop working in the next year.
Keith explained: “There’s a range of reasons why Covid-19 may lead to an employee retiring earlier than expected, from job insecurity to lockdown measures meaning they’ve reassessed priorities.
“If this is something you’re considering, it’s important you understand your long-term financial position and how you’ll create an income throughout retirement. Please get in touch with us to arrange a meeting to go through your retirement plan.”
Finding a role that makes a difference
Interestingly, 6% of people are focusing on finding a new role because they want to help others or work in a sector that makes a difference to those in need. Perhaps inspired by the actions of NHS staff, charities or people simply lending a helping hand, Covid-19 has spurred some on to look for more meaning in the workplace. Knowing the tasks you do have a positive impact can make your role far more fulfilling.
Setting up a business
While lockdown restrictions on workplaces have meant some employees have had more freedom, others may worry about their current job security. Both are reasons why 6% of workers are now thinking about setting up their own business or working for themselves.
Taking control of your own working life can be liberating, but it comes with challenges too, including managing your finances and long-term security. If you’re ready to take the plunge but need some reassurances about how your finances will hold up, we’re here to offer guidance.
Understanding the financial impact of career decisions
“Any career change will come with a financial impact. Perhaps learning new skills will mean your income temporarily falls or moving retirement plans forward means you’ll be accessing your pension sooner than expected. And, if you hope to launch a business, you may need to get to grips with tax and other financial aspects of running a company for the first time,” Keith added.
Financial planning can help you understand the impact a career change will have on your financial situation, allowing you to move plans forward with confidence.