Building bridges towards future jobs

A third of Britons want to switch careers, but many have no idea where to start.


25 02 2021

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Research launched by City & Guilds Group and global labour market trends experts Burning Glass Technologies reveals that at a time of rising unemployment a third of Britons (34%) want to change careers.

But almost two thirds (65%) of Britain’s working population expect the job market to be worse in 2021 than it was in 2020, and worryingly, only 16% of respondents understand exactly how their skills would be useful in another career.

The Building bridges towards future jobs report includes findings from research undertaken by YouGov to better understand attitudes of consumers towards jobs in the current climate and expert analysis of UK job data – including of over 65 million unique job postings in the UK by Burning Glass Technologies.

According to the report, it would appear many Britons lack the confidence and know-how when it comes to recognising the potential of transferable skills as a route to changing careers. In fact, a third (32%) of those surveyed had no idea where else their current skillset might be useful and, when asked to consider changing careers to move into new industries, a third (34%) were concerned about starting over again, a fifth (21%) said they lacked knowledge of other sectors, and around the same number (19%) expressed an overall lack of confidence.

Those aged 25-34 are most reluctant to change careers, finding the lack of knowledge of other jobs (31%), worries about starting all over again (41%), the cost of retraining (21%), and the salaries of other careers (32%) more concerning than any other age group. And one in ten (11%) are seeking change because the pandemic has fundamentally altered their current jobs.

The report also takes a closer look at the health of the jobs market in the UK, analysing millions of job listings posted everyday by employers over the last twelve months. And there is little doubt that the overall health of the UK’s job market is of concern and hiring has clearly slowed down. On 1st March 2020, job postings were up +57% YOY, but by the 5th April 2020 job postings had plummeted to -54% YOY. While numbers seemed to be increasing in September, the postings dropped again below 2019 levels from mid-October 2020.

In some sectors, demand for certain roles is surprisingly on the up – industries that are actively recruiting include construction, digital, engineering, land and health.

With the nation undergoing a shift in terms of the jobs that are available, the report suggests that the most effective way to change careers is for people to harness their transferable skills.

Skills Bridges

City & Guilds, in partnership with FutureLearn, has launched ‘Skills Bridges’ to turn the tide on unemployment in the UK and help individuals who work in industries impacted by Covid-19 to reskill and switch careers into growing industries or those facing labour shortages.

The first phase of Skills Bridges launched in mid-September and focuses on the social care sector. The Step into Social Care course, available on the FutureLearn platform, promotes the social care sector and the jobs and progression opportunities it can offer.

Skills Bridges have secured funding from Nesta’s Rapid Recovery Challenge and are set to grow in response to the UK jobs market and will include FutureLearn courses in sectors such as digital and construction.

Read the Building bridges towards future jobs report here.

Contact City & Guilds at for more details.