BIRMINGHAM, England — A new survey out of England is illustrating just how much the workforce and job culture has changed over the past few decades. The average millennial has already worked as many jobs as most people in their 50s have over the course of their entire career.
A survey of 2,000 adults commissioned by distance learning provider Open Study College finds that the once common notion of attaining a single job for life is seemingly dead. Survey respondents between the ages of 25 and 34 have already worked an average of six different jobs so far in their careers.
On the other hand, the average older adult approaching retirement has worked seven jobs throughout their whole life.
All of this boils down to the fact that younger adults just can’t find employment stability these days. While those over 55 tend to stay in the same role for at least seven years before transitioning to a new one, the average surveyed young adult switched jobs after less than four years.
Additionally, 47% of millennials have completely changed their career choice since getting their first job. Why? So they could pursue better pay, better work-life balance, or simply attempt a new challenge.
“For a long time now we have seen a gradual change within the job market, with people prepared to move around more, rather than settling down into a role that they intend to stay in for their working life,” says Open Study College CEO Samantha Rutter in a statement. “But, it’s surprising to think millennials, who are still early on in their careers, have already had around the same number of roles as those who are nearing the end of their working life.”
According to the survey, the average adult has applied to 23 jobs in their career, and attended nine interviews. Regardless of age groups, the typical worker will stay in his or her position for an average of five and a half years. At that rate, the average employee today can expect to work eight jobs before the age of 65.
As far as why so many people leave their jobs, wanting more money was the most common response, followed by wanting a better chance at advancing one’s career, and wanting to work in a different location. Meanwhile, others search for a different job so they can tackle a bigger challenge, take on a less stressful role, or enjoy better training opportunities.
Changing careers is so common that over half of the employees polled have switched to a completely different career, all by the relatively young age of 31.
Retail workers were the most likely to have changed careers, followed by workers in the finance and banking sector, public services sector, and the hospitality sector. More than one in 10 of that group said that their old career came with far too much pressure, and 17% felt they had no room to grow or be promoted in their old company.
In all, 66% of the survey’s respondents believe the concept of having a job for life isn’t realistic anymore, and 32% even said they couldn’t imagine working in the same career their whole life.
The survey also revealed another common recent development among young adults: a side hustle. A total of 28% said they have a side gig of some kind to provide supplementary income, and 86% of that portion said their side job has absolutely nothing to do with their main career.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.