Career overhaul attractive to Kiwis: survey

By Ben Chapman-Smith

In a survey of 1200 Kiwis, 70 per cent told Seek NZ they have considered, or are considering, a complete change in careers during their working lives. Photo / Thinkstock
In a survey of 1200 Kiwis, 70 per cent told Seek NZ they have considered, or are considering, a complete change in careers during their working lives. Photo / Thinkstock

One year on from leaving a decade-long career in media to trade bananas from an Auckland warehouse, Richard Andrews says his future is bright and he's "never been happier".

Andrews quit his job as a Research and Advertising Manager for a global media company November 2010 and started managing the import and trading of bananas from the Philippines for a local produce wholesaler in Mt Welllington.

"I couldn't see myself working in media for another 10 years as I saw it more as a young person's game," he said.

"I'd almost reached burnout at the age of 30 and I started to question whether the pay-off was worth it."

Apparently, many of us ask the same questions.

In a survey of 1200 Kiwis, 70 per cent told Seek NZ they have considered, or are considering, a complete change in careers during their working lives.

A vocational shift is entirely different to looking for a new role within the same industry, said Janet Faulding, Seek NZ general manager.

"Career transitions often require a deeper level of planning and self-evaluation than looking for a new job in your current industry," she said.

"However, the career life cycle has evolved over time and we're now seeing people work in multiple fields during their working life."

Andrews admits his new jobs lacks the glamour of advertising, but says he now gets to spend most of the day on his feet, knocks off mid-afternoon and has a better overall lifestyle.

"I had to start from the ground up with my new career. I was out on the floor, picking and packing banana orders.

"At times, I thought, what the hell am I doing? But it's the best thing I could have done - I have never been happier or had a clearer focus. I think you have to take the plunge and go with it."

Seek NZ's Workforce Survey revealed two key motivators behind making a career overhaul.

Number one on the list was a change in lifestyle, with 30 per cent of respondents keen to find better balance in their personal and professional life.

The other main motivator was the promise of better pay, with 25 per cent saying they would change industries for better earning potential.

Andrews says he initially took a big pay cut but 18 months down the track he is back earning almost at the same level he was in media.

He says he now has the hope of owning his own business in an industry which will still allow him time to enjoy life.

"The future I have got in this industry is more promising in terms of lifestyle and pay."

Of those surveyed by Seek, 19 per cent also cited decreased satisfaction with current careers and 18 per cent the desire for greater opportunity as reasons for job shifts.

Finding your career calling is fundamentally a personal thing, Faulding said.

"There's no one formula for the right career for any individual, but if you are looking for a whole new career direction, make a wish list about the things that make you happy, and use that to help guide your job seeking efforts. Keep at it and you'll find it."

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