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Understand how professional experience shapes your career path, influencing opportunities and personal growth in your field.

Will a career change affect a retirement plan?

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A career change is a serious option for many people in the current economic climate. Fluctuating life circumstances, unexpected redundancies or technology changes can lead to the necessity of a career change. But have you thought enough about how this career change will affect your retirement plans?

A midlife career change can have a huge effect on retirement planning. With almost half of the UK workforce thinking about a change in career, it’s definitely something to think about. However, the effect on financial security and a fear of failure frequently holds people back from changing careers.

A report released by the London School of Business and Finance in 2015 showed that 47% of professionals would like to change career, with 21% hoping to make a career change within the next year. Salary, a better work-life balance and improved career satisfaction are the main reasons stated in the report as to why people hoped to make a career change.

Many people looking for a career change are classified as ‘midlife’. As types of career change and people live longer, it is realistic to go through at least one career change in your working life. However, you must think hard about the financial implications and plan ahead however your career progresses.

Having a career strategy is key. Map out a projection to see what your income will be if you do change career. You might make a loss in the short term, but if a career change will eventually mean a higher salary, or a better work life balance for you with money you can comfortably live on, it’s worth making that change of career. You can always plan ahead too, making sure you have some savings or money set aside to cope with any short term changes or problems your career change may create.

Don’t forget to keep putting money aside for retirement too. Ensure that you are still contributing to a pension and try to keep you and your family financially secure.

Are you polite enough to progress in your career?

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Being rude might not just hold you back socially – a recent report in the Journal of Applied Psychology has claimed that it can affect your career as well.

The lead author of the study, Trevor Foulk, claims “rudeness has an incredibly powerful negative effect on your career” and this is reported to be a growing problem within businesses. For employers, this lack of personal and business etiquette is reported to lead to increased staff turnover, low performance, missed time, difficulty in recruiting and other career related issues.

You don’t want your lack of manners to affect your colleagues and morale. You definitely don’t want it to reduce your chances of job promotion or career progression either – so what do you need to focus on to make sure you are well mannered in your career?

Think before you speak

Before you send that hastily written email, before you quickly correct your colleague in an important meeting, and before you deliver your thoughts on a manager’s attitude to another while making your morning coffee; take your time and collect your thoughts. Is it necessary to communicate this? If it is, could you manage to put across your feelings in a subtler way, or at a different time? If you can, it will be a boost to your career hopes instead of a drag on your career development.

Remember your manners

Your career, your workplace, is just that. You need to respect others and ensure that everyone you work with is treated fairly and nicely. It is counter-productive to create conflict in your career. You can help create a fair, respectful, calm environment to work in, where everyone is happy to be there. It may also reflect back positively on you too, as these sorts of career skills are well respected in managerial careers.

It’s not always verbal

What you say is not always the issue in your career. People can quickly react unfavourably to facial expressions, body language and tone of voice. These can very easily be misinterpreted. Make sure you:

  • Check how you position yourself,
  • Maintain a healthy distance from others, ensuring you don’t invade their personal space,
  • Deliver your thoughts in a calm and rational manner.

This works both ways too – is someone else’s nonverbal messaging affecting you and your reactions? Before you respond negatively, it’s worth checking and if it is an issue it may be something to take up with your manager.

Setting your career sights high

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What typifies career success for you? Is it a high salary? Is it a career in which you are recognised and respected? Does your perfect career provide a better work-life balance? Recent research has shown that this varies, often across the gender divide, with surprising results.

The career poll, undertaken by employment firm Reed, has shown that although women want to achieve success in their careers earlier than men, they do not expect as high a salary. Men aimed for a higher salary that defined career success, but did not expect it until later in their careers. Over half of women want career success by the age of 40. This is compared to just two in five men. A third of women dreamt of being in their ideal career by the age 35.

Tom Lovell, Managing Director of Reed, stated “Achieving career success is deemed important to 51% of workers overall, yet what is most interesting from this research is what they define as indicators of career success and at what stage of their career they aim to achieve it.”

“With addressing the gender pay gap, and the career glass ceiling, high on the political agenda, it’s particularly interesting that women want to hit key career milestones earlier in their careers.”

“Flexibility is also key for women in their careers – seemingly more so than men. Interestingly, three-quarters of people don’t think they’ve achieved career success, with the average worker saying career success is eight years away. More than half believe they are not yet on the right career path to achieve career success at all.”

Defining success in your career is a key part of knowing what your dream career would be. How do you know how to achieve the right career path for you if you don’t know what you want to achieve in your career, as well as know what motivates you in your career?

Choosing the right career path is one of the most important decisions you will make in life. Take a look at Career Analysts’ career programmes to find out more about discovering the best career path for you.

22 Ways to look for a new career

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Ways to look for a new career

Do you want a new career? Here are ways to begin re-examining your career path and breathe new life into your career.

Look at your motivations

What career would make you happy? What do you want to do for a career? Sometimes it feels like an impossible task to pin down what it is you want to do for a career, or what career would keep you interested. How can you know which aspects of your personality draw you towards success in one career and less likely to succeed in another career path?

Your strengths, weaknesses and motivations all have a major impact on career choice. Others will always have an outside view on what career is right for you, but what is that based on? What career you should be aiming for needs to be based on something more scientific than that.

Targeted careers advice will help. Career Analysts trained career counselors are experts combining career sector knowledge with career profiling and assessment techniques (psychometric tests) to ensure that you get the most comprehensive careers advice to suit you.

Create a career plan

Having taken career advice, write down actions, timescales and other notes to help you focus. It will give you that feeling of satisfaction when you begin to tick things off your list!

Identify career options and define your career goals to help you feel in control of your career plan. Focus on your career plan to give yourself a head start over less organised candidates!

Revise your CV

You might think your CV is fine, but the job market has changed and less and less time is given to looking over CVs. They need to stand out, and contain maximum relevant information in a clear, structured way.

Waffle, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and irrelevant information are all ways that may cause your CV to be passed over without a second thought. Make sure you are giving yourself the best possible chance of an interview by tailoring your CV to each career role, and ask others for their feedback. If you can find a friend that regularly recruits, or works within your chosen career path, even better!

Market yourself

Career Analysts works with people at an individual, flexible level to help them market themselves for their chosen careers. It’s a great approach that helps you focus on tasks, and getting yourself in front of the right people; at the right company.

The plan involves planning, preparing, launching and monitoring the career campaign, including:

  • Setting objectives and tasks to get you into your chosen career
  • Identifying the various routes into the job market
  • Writing a great CV
  • Interview techniques training
  • And more
  • It’s a great way to focus on your career and refresh your job search. Good luck!

Is insecurity the norm in modern careers?

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In former times, when you were looking for a new career, you would normally have been looking for a long term career. The word career implies a lifetime of work and of progress, and many want a vocation that suits their long term career goals. However, in today’s career market many of us do not have such career security.

A recent revision of official figures showed that nearly 583,000 employees – more than double the government’s original estimate – had to sign up to zero-hours contracts last year. This is three times higher than the figure for 2010, showing a massive rise in employees with diminished legal career rights and even fewer benefits.

Zero-hours contracts allow employers to hire staff without any obligation to guarantee a minimum number of working hours, hence the term ‘zero-hours’. This provides no security or guaranteed wage to employees. People agree to be available for work as and when required, but have no guaranteed hours or times of work. They are used widely in the social care sector, by many retailers and hotels.

In the fourth quarter of 2014, 200,000 workers in the United Kingdom reported that they were on zero-hour contracts. In 2013, such contracts were prevalent in many parts of the UK economy:

  • in the hotels and restaurants sector, 19% of all workplaces (up from 4% in 2004)
  • in the health sector, 13% (up from 7%)
  • in the education sector, 10% (up from 1%)

For domiciliary care workers, the incidence was reported to be as high as 55.7% of all career care workers during the period 2008-14.

Indeed, there have been suggestions that the Office of National Statistics might still be underestimating the figure. Unite, for example, has cited research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) stating that 1 million career workers are on the contracts. This may be because employees themselves do not understand the contracts they are on, and do not disclose that information when questioned. The union states “Unite believes that, in general, zero-hours contracts are unfair, creating insecurity and exploitation for many ordinary people struggling to get by.”

Zero hour contracts do provide

flexibility for some, but these tend to be in groups such as students. When there is a mortgage to pay and child care to organise, these contracts can be restrictive and uncertain. It is however, the way a number of large corporations choose to hire their staff.

The shadow business secretary accused ministers last year of burying their heads in the sand at the extent of the problem after the social care minister said that there were 370,000 zero-hours contracts in the care sector alone. There were concerns that the ONS figures were underestimating the number of zero-hours contracts.

It is feared that some workers were not telling the surveyors about their zero-hours contracts simply because they did not understand what they were. He said in a letter: “It is evident that there are some risks of such estimates being too low due to individuals not describing their working arrangement as being a ‘zero-hours’ contract to the interviewer.”

The Business Secretary said: “These figures provide welcome clarity over the number of people in this type of employment. While zero-hour contracts provide flexibility for some, it is also clear that there has been some abuse. This is why I launched a consultation at the end of last year to help root out abuse – like tackling the problems around exclusivity of contracts with a single employer”.

“While Labour sat on their hands for 13 years and did nothing about it, we’re doing something about it. The government’s consultation closes this Friday and I’d urge union, employers and employees to respond so we can sort this problem out.”

The Secretary pledged to crack down on “exclusivity clauses” that prevent staff on zero-hours contracts working elsewhere. He spoke of how he would act against “abusive practices in zero-hours contracts”.

But Labour believes it has an even tougher approach. They told the TUC last year that they would ban the exploitation of workers on zero-hours contracts by banning employers from insisting employees on the contracts are available even when there is no guarantee of any work, ending “exclusivity clauses” and stopping the use of the contracts when employees are in practice working regular hours.

The mechanics of career change

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As retirement age falls further back and no career is safe from the threat of redundancy and change, can you really rely on a career for life?

This is a view that many agree with – less than one in ten (8.6%) workers in the UK expect to stay in one career for their entire life.

According to recruiter Hyphen, more than a quarter of young workers (aged 16-34) say they want to change jobs between eight and twelve times during their careers. And although older workers tend to show more loyalty to employers, they can struggle when faced with looking for another career if their employer does not reciprocate that loyalty.

The unpredictability of the current economic climate, as well as the speed of career change and increased mobility of workers, means that career minded people should expect to change jobs, if not careers, many times in their working life.

This isn’t just restricted to external forces. People themselves can feel the need to change career if they are not satisfied in their current careers. Our motivations and interests change over time; with much more flexibility now available for those who wish to build their own careers or return to another career after having a family.

So how can you prepare for the seemingly inevitable? Are there ways you can adapt your current career to conquer boredom or the feeling of not progressing in your career?

Career Analysts work with thousands of people to help them develop their career path or find the ideal career change for them.

As we move beyond our first careers, into our thirties and beyond, our lifestyle and priorities change – does your career still motivate you and reflect your ambitions? Career Analysts can help you re-evaluate who you are, what drives you and how your career can help you achieve your dreams.

This means considering your career options, reviewing your career progress and assessing your current role. By building up your holistic profile – your motivations, personality and abilities – using psychometric tests, Career Analysts can devise a realistic career path for your future; whether that is a different career plan or developing your talents in your current career.

There’s no need to fear a career change but embrace the possibilities that can occur when you stop looking for that one career for life!

Decline of traditional careers

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New career analysis by the independent think-tank the Resolution Foundation, claims that traditional careers are declining or flatlining across the country, and the real effect is being masked by a rise in self-employment.

The research into careers shows that the total number of employed jobs fell in 9 of the 12 British regions recently, ranging from a drop of 156,000 posts in Scotland, to a fall of 24,000 in the east Midlands. The numbers of employee jobs in the south-east (-1,000) and eastern region (+4,000) remained virtually static, while in London, uniquely, 285,000 were created.

The numbers of self-employed jobs rose by 116,000 in the south-east, by 85,000 in London itself, by 67,000 in the east and by 61,000 in the west Midlands. There were 58,000 additional self-employed posts in the south-west and 43,000 in the east Midlands.

These newly-created careers in self-employment were sufficient to offset the loss of careers in the employed sector and this has contributed to an increase in the number in work in other regions over the 2008 baseline.

Additional research has shown that self-employment weekly wages have decreased at a much bigger percentage than those in employment. While weekly wages for career employees fell 6% between 2007 and 2015, typical self-employed pay has decreased by 20% in the same time period. The typical self-employed person is now being paid 40% less than the average career employee.

This move into self-employment can be for personal reasons, but some state a lack of other career options. There is also worrying analysis that this change in career patterns can be putting even more financial pressure on homes across the UK.

The Guardian quotes labour market economist and former Bank of England rate-setter, David Blanchflower “Self-employment is often the last resort of the desperate… such workers operate under considerable strain, worried about where their income is coming from, and are sometimes forced to finance themselves by borrowing against their home, exposing their families to the same financial uncertainty that is associated with their career.”

Workplace pension numbers hit all-time low.

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A report from the Office of National Statistics has shown that the number of people planning for the future with career pension schemes has fallen to an all-time low. In both public and private sector careers, saving into workplace schemes has fallen below 50% for the first time since records began.

In 2015, 12.2 million, 48%, workers were in occupational pension schemes, compared to 55% in 1997. As the economy continues to be unstable, house prices fluctuate and elderly care costs rise, can people afford to be so unprepared in their careers for the future?

Tom McPhail, head of career pensions research at consultancy Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Undoubtedly the recession drove many workers to pull out of schemes due to financial pressures. But various changes in legislation over the years have also led to employers shutting down final career salary schemes. Pensions are seen as a discretionary spend but millions are sleepwalking into retirement only to find they haven’t saved enough during their careers.”

Statistics also revealed that just 9% of private sector employees were in final salary or career average schemes, compared to 34% 14 years ago.

The schemes guarantee workers a yearly sum based on length of career. However, they are expensive to fund, and have long been in decline in the UK.

The Daily Telegraph states that the UK is already facing a pensions demographic “time bomb” as workers live longer but careers are the same length, and so the retirement deficit swells, with the latest ONS figures likely to heap further pressure on the Government to implement radical measures to tackle the issue.

From October 2012, new regulations introduced by the Government forced all employers to offer workers a pension scheme, under “auto-enrolment”, in an attempt to get an extra 10 million people saving for retirement during their careers.

But experts say the contribution levels required from businesses and workers – a combined 8% of an employee’s salary – are too low to tackle the issue properly, raising the prospect that businesses may have to contribute more into schemes.

People themselves can tackle this issue by examining their private and company pension plans and considering their own career ideals. It may be time to consider a career change and to start seriously considering your financial future.

Career security in a changing retail climate

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Building career security is a crucial step for employees. The retail industry employs a large workforce; the shelf stacker, the cashier and the shop assistant front it. However, its back end includes an army of career managers, buyers, accountants, and human resource career professionals, who often train in retail as a stepping stone for other careers.

The retail industry bends to consumer and economic trends and this has a direct effect on people’s careers. A credit crunch affects credit and lack of credit indirectly affects a family’s disposable income. Inflation and higher food prices have not helped that trend. Although people still have to eat they do not have to have new fashion accessories. Many people in the UK have had to prioritise their needs when it comes to spending.

Retailers in the last twenty years have had to pare down their profits to maintain sales. The Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) report, predicted that by 2016 online sales will represent over 20% of all retail sales. The creation of better online security and more interactive websites will ensure that online shopping will increase and this will have an immediate effect on people’s career choices and the security of their careers.

However, while being able to purchase your weekly shop online may be labour and time-saving, it may not provide the same ‘retail therapy’; the thrill of seeing an object and having to have it, and the gratification of treating oneself! People love to window shop and many would not dream of risking purchasing an outfit they had not first tried on, or a piece of fruit they had not first felt and smelt.

There will no doubt always be successful retailers and they will continue to adapt to changing economic times and work patterns. Employers are being forced to tackle life-work balance issues that will improve retail career working conditions in an industry long dogged by overwork and underpay at lower levels. While many stores now offer self-serve facilities, retailers will still have to employ increasing numbers of staff to expand their empires; Britain may well remain a nation of shopkeepers’ for a tad longer!

Learning how to build and maintain career security in uncertain economic times is a task many of us will have to perfect. Freddy Mac and Fannie Mae may sound like two friends of Mickie Mouse but the takeover of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) and Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) represents one of the largest acts of US government intervention in a private financial company in decades. Ironically, Fanny Mae was part of Roosevelt’s New Deal founded in 1938 to provide liquidity to the housing market. The fallout from their collapse will reverberate around the globe for many years. Certainly, it contributed to the credit crunch and these have historically affected career security.

Can women forge a career as a chef?

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In their careers, women were once cooks and men chefs, and never the twain would meet. People over forty may remember that women were told that they did not have the temperament to be career chefs, or that they could not deal with the pressure in that career path.

Today, there is more interest in becoming a career chef than at any other time in history; it is now viewed as a glamorous career option. However, despite fifty years of feminism, women like Rachel Ray and Nigella Lawson are more TV personalities than career chefs.

Women appear reluctant to blame sexism as the reason they do not get on in the professional kitchen yet the barriers to becoming a career chef appear to be slowly coming down.

Gordon Ramsey seems an unlikely champion of female career chefs but the first British woman to gain a Michelin star is Angela Hartnett who began her career in his kitchen. Angela was the first female head chef at the Connaught ending over a century of male domination. Héléne Darroze, a leading chef in Paris, has recently opened her first restaurant in the UK at the Connaught. She was trained in her career by Alain Ducasse and is widely acknowledged as one of the top female chefs in the world.

Some decades ago the kitchen was regarded as a macho place with highly strung chefs flinging knives at unsuspecting sous chefs. Women were not attracted to the highly unstable atmosphere prevalent in a kitchen. Nowadays although that image is maintained by Gordon Ramsey and Marco Pierre White, most people regard it as being in the realms of entertainment rather than in the real world.

Women do face disadvantages in taking up a career as a chef; the hours are long, hard and antisocial especially when they are first starting out. However they have some advantages – successful women do stand out in a male dominated world. “Cheffing” is a career in which you never stop learning, but it is a career for life. The career objectives may change but you will never have to retrain.

To become a career chef is now a respectable profession and it is attracting new recruits in droves and many of those have a university degree. The days when chefs could cook but went bankrupt for lack of business acumen is diminishing. Héléne Darroze graduated from university with a business degree before joining Alain Ducasse’s Michelin starred restaurant in Monte Carlo.

For those who want to cook for a career and cannot imagine ever doing anything else, it has never been a better time to don the white toque. Shifts are still long and dedication and commitment are necessary to succeed, but if you can’t stand the heat…