Federal Labor Department statistics show there were over 4 million more job openings this May compared to last year. That's good news for people who are looking to change jobs or switch careers. And there are a lot of them. Experts predict a huge wave will leave their employer in the months ahead.
Jessica Brooks, from Chicago, switched careers mid-pandemic. "The transition was because I felt kind of stuck in the place that I was in career-wise. "
One in 4 workers plan to look for a job at a different company once the pandemic subsides, according to a survey by Prudential Financial. And one in 5 workers switched careers over the past year.
Geleen Antonio left a health care consultant position she's held for 6 years. "What's really important for me now is really location independence, the freedom to be able to work out of any city, any country, maybe a coffee shop, even that I didn't have before."
A different survey from LinkedIn this past April found the reason people are switching is because they’re looking for more job flexibility, be it flexible work locations or work hours. Another top reason? Work-life balance. Career expert Colleen Sauer says the pandemic has helped us re-prioritize what's important to us. "COVID put everything into perspective for people," says Sauer. "And what they're overwhelmingly asking for is flexibility...Many employers didn't approach the pandemic in the best way possible for a lot of different reasons. Employees are burnt by that."
Entrepreneurship is also on the rise. More than half of professionals surveyed by LinkedIn (51%) see themselves either starting a business or freelancing. That includes Andrew Dvorscak — who decided to open a coffee company in Denver.
"The pandemic — it was definitely something that pushed me to do it. If I didn't get laid off, I probably would still just be sitting on my hands. Just, oh, it'd be so cool to own a coffee business someday," says Dvorscak.
Haluthai Inhmathong quit her 9-5 marketing job to start her own food pop-up Basil Babe. She says, "working from home kind of puts pressure on a lot of things and you're left alone with your own thoughts. I knew I was unhappy; a job should never make you cry."
The people Newsy spoke to say, whether it's a career switch or starting a new business, the pandemic sped things up. Inhmathong says, "if there was no pandemic it was leading up to it. But with the lockdown, it definitely was faster."