Virtual Vocations - 2023 Career Change Survey Results: 857 Workers Polled on What Would Make Their Work Lives Great

Career Change Survey: 857 Workers Polled on What Would Make Their Work Lives Great

If workers are not unhappy on the job, why would they want to change careers? The survey results from Virtual Vocations‘ 8th annual Remote Work Week event are in and they prove modern workers are opting to be more selective in their career choices. Our “2023 Career Change Survey” report lays out a workforce driven by professionals willing to leave their careers in order to find the personal and professional flexibility of working from home on a fully remote basis.

Our survey asked workers to imagine whether changing careers would improve their professional happiness. Overwhelmingly, workers admitted they want new jobs in 2023, and that the possibility of fully remote work is pulling them toward change.

We recognize how difficult it can be to change careers, but the promise of working from home 100% of the time is a lifestyle choice workers want now and into the future—ahead of better compensation and benefits or workplace advancement.

–Laura Spawn, CEO and co-founder of Virtual Vocations

Virtual Vocations 2023 Career Change Survey Results

Complete questions and answers for the “2023 Career Change Survey” have been divided into the following categories:

  1. The State of Working in 2023
  2. Attitudes Toward Work
  3. Career Change Outlooks

Each survey results section includes a convenient list of key report findings from the 857 survey responses we received during Remote Work Week 2023. The career change survey was open from March 12 through 18 and available to Virtual Vocations members as well as the general public.

1. The State of Working in 2023

  • Eight in 10 workers are interested in a new job this year, and were either actively looking for a new career at the time of the survey or plan to in the near future.
  • One-third of professionals do not have access to remote work in their careers or did not have the option to work remotely for their most recent employers.
  • 38% of professionals work in a field that matches a post-secondary degree, professional certification, or job training certificate they earned, while another 38% work in a career unrelated to their primary education or training background.

Have you been looking for a new job so far in 2023, or do you plan to?

Yes. (82.15%)

82 %

No. (3.85%)

4 %

Not actively, but I would welcome a new opportunity if the right one came along. (14.00%)

14 %

Does your job allow you to work from home?

Yes, on a 100% work-from-home arrangement. (45.97%)

46 %

Yes, but on a hybrid schedule with some days spent traveling or onsite. (19.95%)

20 %

No, remote work is not an option for me. (34.07%)

34 %

Do you work in a field that matches a post-secondary degree, professional certification, or job training certificate you earned?

Yes, I always knew what I wanted to do and went for it! (37.57%)

38 %

Yes, but I did not earn my degree/credentials until after I got the job. (12.25%)

12 %

No, I work in a field outside of my area of education/training. (38.39%)

38 %

I have not earned any post-secondary degrees or job training for a particular career. (11.79%)

12 %

2. Attitudes Toward Work

  • Most professionals feel optimistic about their work experience, with 61% saying they look forward to getting started each morning and 43% claiming they end their days feeling accomplished and ready to tackle tomorrow.
  • 62% of respondents stated they dread no more than a quarter of their total work duties and responsibilities. A full 20% of workers said they do not negatively anticipate any of their work tasks and enjoy their careers.
  • Only 11% of workers feel unchallenged at work. The vast majority are exposed to consistent opportunities to learn and grow or are excited with they are met with new chances to challenge themselves while working.
  • The majority of workers (58%) perceive their work as meaningful and relish in the knowledge they are making important differences through their professional contributions.

How do you feel at the start of your work day?

I look forward to getting started! (60.56%)

61 %

Indifferent. Work is work. (26.25%)

26 %

I dread it and would rather do just about anything else than my job. (13.19%)

13 %

How do you feel at the end of your work day?

Typically, I feel accomplished and excited for tomorrow! (42.47%)

43 %

I am just thankful to be employed. (35.12%)

35 %

Exhausted. Do I really have to do this again tomorrow? (22.40%)

22 %

Ideal Day Planner Worksheets for Working from Home

What percentage of your work duties and responsibilities do you dread?

0%, I love what I do! (21.00%)

21 %

No more than 25% (41.07%)

41 %

25 – 50% (21.59%)

22 %

More than 50% (16.34%)

16 %

Does your work challenge you?

Yes! I am constantly learning and growing. (42.24%)

42 %

Sometimes. Every now and then it is nice to do something new. (46.79%)

47 %

Never. I do the same thing day in, day out. (10.97%)

11 %

Would you say your work is meaningful?

Yes, and it feels great to know I am making a difference. (58.11%)

58 %

Not really. My work is necessary, but I am not changing the world. (38.51%)

39 %

No, anyone with a pulse could do my job. (3.38%)

3 %

3. Career Change Outlooks

  • Career changes are not uncommon. Approximately one-third of workers have changed careers three to five times since they started working.
  • 37% of respondents said at least one of their career changes was inspired by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Approximately half of workers (47%) stated that job flexibility, including the option to work from home 100% of the time, is the primary factor driving their interest in changing careers—more so than higher compensation, better benefits, or workplace advancement.
  • To successfully change careers, only one-fifth would be unwilling to return to school, upskill, or pursue additional training. The rest would be open to continued learning and development, especially if they already landed a new job or received an offer from an employer willing to contribute to the cost of additional classes or training.
  • A lack of personal savings as a cushion during a job change is the number one barrier preventing workers from switching careers.

How many times have you made a career change since you started working?

None (19.37%)

19 %

1-2 (34.77%)

35 %

3-5 (30.69%)

31 %

6-9 (10.27%)

10 %

10 or more (4.90%)

5 %

Have you changed careers since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020?

Yes. (41.07%)

41 %

No. (58.93%)

59 %

Did the COVID-19 pandemic itself influence your decision to change careers?

Yes. (37.22%)

37 %

No. (41.19%)

41 %

This question does not apply to me. (21.59%)

22 %

Which of these factors would be the number one motivation for you to change careers?

Higher compensation (19.25%)

19 %

Better benefits, in addition to salary (10.15%)

10 %

Job flexibility, including the option to work from home 100% of the time (47.37%)

47 %

Advancement opportunities and professional growth (10.50%)

11 %

Finding a career that matches my personal values (9.45%)

10 %

Stronger leadership and company culture (1.40%)

1 %

Being recognized for my accomplishments (1.87%)

2 %

Would you consider returning to school, getting training, or upskilling to support a future career change?

Yes. (49.24%)

49 %

No. (17.74%)

18 %

Only if I already had my next job lined up or a future employer would agree to help me offset the cost for education and training to change careers. (33.02%)

33 %

What, if any, barriers are there to you making a career change?

I am not confident in learning new skills or going back to school. (6.42%)

6 %

I do not have enough money saved in case it does not work out. (37.69%)

38 %

I have invested too much time and resources in my current field. (18.79%)

19 %

I do not want to build a new network. (2.22%)

2 %

I feel too old to change careers. (14.23%)

14 %

I am unhappy at work, but also not sure which new career would be right for me. (20.65%)

21 %

About Virtual Vocations

Virtual Vocations, Inc., founded in 2007, is a private, family-owned, and 100% distributed company. Co-founded by CEO Laura Spawn and her brother, CTO Adam Stevenson, Virtual Vocations connects jobseekers with legitimate, fully remote job openings. All job postings are screened to ensure the highest quality standards. To date, Virtual Vocations has helped more than four million jobseekers find flexible remote work options.

In addition to managing and curating a database that, at any given time, houses more than 15,000 current, hand-screened remote job openings, Virtual Vocations offers jobseekers a number of tools to aid in their job searches. These tools include exclusive, self-paced career courses, digital guides for popular virtual job industries, and downloadable worksheets. The Career Services Division also provides job coaching and interview prep, LinkedIn profile enhancement, and resume and cover letter writing. Virtual Vocations also releases multiple data-driven reports each year on current trends in remote work.

Send questions about Virtual Vocations’ “2023 Career Change Survey” report to Kimberly Back. Kim is the Senior Job Data Content Producer and can be emailed at kim (at) virtualvocations (dot) com. Please visit Virtual Vocations’ social media profiles to connect. Visit Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest for more remote work content and conversations.

Additional Image credits: Canva; Virtual Vocations images prepared by Kimberly Back

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