Half of UK workers plan career changes in next 12 months due to covid

 Portrait of a smiling female carpenter sending a voice message with smartphone in her workshop.
  • Five million people plan to turn a new hobby into an income stream
  • People in London most likely to want to work from home
  • Two million workers plan to find a new role which helps others
  • One in 10 people aged 55-64 plan to retire in the next year due to Covid situation

More than half of UK workers - 53% - plan to make changes to their careers in the next 12 months as a direct result of the Coronavirus pandemic.


plan to make changes to their careers in the next 12 months as a direct result of the Coronavirus pandemic. 

This is according to a new study from Aviva, released today.

Aviva’s How We Live Report finds the most popular career aspiration emerging from the crisis is the desire for flexibility. One in 10 (10%) UK workers say that in the next 12 months, they aim to find a role that will allow them to work from home.

The desire to work from home is strongest in London where one in six (16) of workers intend to find a role which will allow them to work remotely. This compares to just three per cent or workers in the East of England.

Just behind the hope for flexibility is the aspiration to retrain or learn new skills, a plan for 9% of UK workers. This rises to 15% of people aged 25-34. Echoing this view, 8% of workers hope to gain more academic qualifications in the next 12 months.

Covid-19 has also expedited some people’s retirement plans. Within the 55-64 age group, 10% of workers say they plan to retire within the next 12 months, as a direct result of the Covid situation.

Plan to make career changes in the next

12 months as a result of the Covid outbreak

Percentage of UK workers (all ages) who plan to make this career change in the next 12 months

Number of UK workers who plan to make this career change in the next 12 months (1)

I plan to find a role which will allow me to work from home


3.4 million

I plan to retrain / learn new skills


3.1 million

I plan to gain more academic qualifications


2.7 million

I plan to follow a completely different career path


2.4 million

I plan to find a role which helps others / makes a difference to those in need


2.1 million

I plan to set up my own business / work for myself


2.1 million

I plan to reduce my working hours (e.g. full time to part time)


2.1 million

I plan to find employment after losing my job


1.4 million

I plan to increase my working hours (e.g. part time to full time)


2.1 million

I plan to move companies but stay in the same industry/role


1.7 million

I plan to find a new role but with the same organisation


1.7 million

I plan to retire


1.4 million

The legacy of lockdown hobbies

The How We Live report also found that almost half of the nation’s adults (45%) have tried their hand at new hobbies in 2020, provoking further ideas for career changes.

Six per cent of hobbyists intend to transform a hobby into a career - equating to just over 2 million(1) workers - while a further 9% ­- equivalent to just over 3 million(1) workers - plan to gain a second source of income through their new side-line. 

Gareth Hemming, MD, Personal Lines, for Aviva says: “The additional time at home and the temporary closure of many services has meant that people have found different ways to use their time, and in some cases developed new skills. 

"Lockdown has also allowed time to reflect on lifestyles and vocations, so it’s possible that innovative career paths may be forged, making use of these new talents.

“People planning to work from home in the future on a long-term basis may need to review their home insurance requirements. Many policies include cover for office equipment, which provides peace of mind for those people who work from home either permanently or occasionally.

"However, a standard home insurance policy may not be adequate if someone wishes to run a business from their home, particularly if they have stock on site or customers visiting their property. If they’re in any doubt, workers should speak to their insurance provider, to make sure they have the right level of cover for buildings, contents and business.”

Download our How we live report (PDF 5.66 MB)



The How We Live Report uses data from a survey of 4,002 randomly selected UK adults aged 16 and upwards, carried out by Censuswide Research on behalf of Aviva between 10-17 July 2020. The study of career aspirations relates to the views of 2,445 employed people who were interviewed as part of this survey.

(1) Based on ONS estimates of 34,295,000 economically active people aged 16 and above (March – May 2020).

Media Enquiries

Sarah Poulter

Group External Communications

Notes to editors:

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