The career-for-life is vanishing, with more than half of all UK contact centre and customer services professionals (52 per cent) saying they expect to switch careers within the next five years.
The main cause, cited by 40 per cent of contact centre and customer services professionals, is the need for higher income, followed by changing personal interests (22 per cent), and the need for improved work-life balance (16 per cent).
“We are seeing a surprisingly large number of people who are actively considering the critical issue of whether they should change their careers and make a fresh start,” said Dominic Graham, Head of Professional and Technical Services, Kelly Services.
“For an earlier generation, a change of career would have been something of a crisis. However, today it is seen as a reflection of shifts in demand for different skills and occupations, as well as changing personal interests on the part of employees.”
One sign of the shifting attitude to career interruption is that the majority of contact centre and customer services professionals (71 per cent) surveyed believe they could resume their career at the same level after taking a break for such things as maternity or paternity leave, illness or an extended holiday.
Results of the survey in the UK show:
- In determining the most important elements in a person’s career – experience or formal education – the vast majority of contact centre and customer services professionals (90 per cent) nominate experience, while 9 per cent cite formal education and 1 per cent are undecided.
- Two-thirds of contact centre and customer services professionals (66 per cent) say that when looking for a job, the best indicator of a person’s talent is their work experience, followed by performance in the job interview (25 per cent), job references (5 per cent) and education (4 per cent).
- More than two-thirds of contact centre and customer services professionals (74 per cent) say they aspire to an executive position, while 20 per cent do not.
- The main reasons for contact centre and customer services professionals avoiding executive positions are concern about pressure and stress, cited by 33 per cent, followed by the impact on work-life balance (29 per cent), inadequate skills (21 per cent), and lack of ambition (4 per cent).
- 93 per cent of contact centre and customer services professionals say that it is either “extremely important” or “important” that qualifications and skills be upgraded in order to progress their career.
“As individuals take greater control of their careers in contact centre and customer services professions, there is a likelihood of employees moving in and out of the workforce for both professional and lifestyle reasons. Employers and employees will both need to adapt to this new workplace reality, where the smooth career pathway will be the exception rather than the rule,” Dominic Graham concludes.