The career-for-life is vanishing according to a survey where more than half of all New Zealand respondents (52 per cent) said they expected to switch careers within the next five years.

The results are part of the Kelly Global Workforce Index, which obtained the views of 97,000 people across 30 countries, including 1800 respondents in New Zealand.

Kelly Services marketing manager Victoria Robertson said the prospect of better money and lifestyle changes appeared to be driving the trend.

About a third of respondents cited personal interests as the reason for switching careers, followed by the need for improved work-life balance (27 per cent), and a demand for higher incomes (22 per cent).


"That's potentially a massive shift in the workforce, which could mean both benefits - in terms of increased engagement and productivity, and costs - in areas like retraining and recruitment, for the local economy.

"It also marks a strong societal change - for an earlier generation, a change of career would have been something of a crisis."

Robertson said the single life-long career pathway was now the exception rather than the rule.

Other survey findings:

• Those working in utilities, travel / leisure and oil and gas are most likely to undergo a change in career.

• Most respondents (59 per cent) said that when looking for a job, the best indicator of a person's talent was their work experience, followed by performance in a job interview (23 per cent), job references (13 per cent) and education (5 per cent).

• More than two-thirds of respondents (69 per cent) said they aspired to an executive position, while 23 per cent said they did not. Those who did not said they would be worried about the impact on work-life balance (38 per cent), followed by concern about pressure and stress (30 per cent).