Two fifths (40%) of UK workers are considering a career change due to the rising cost-of-living, according to new data from KPMG UK, up from 35% in 2022.

KPMG surveyed 1,500 UK employees about their working habits and career aspirations and found a challenging economic environment is changing their employment priorities.

More than a third (38%) of workers want improved salary and benefits due to the rising cost-of-living, up from 30% last year, 29% want more flexibility to work from home, up from 20% last year, and 23% want more job security, down slightly from 24% last year.

The desire of workers to change career comes despite a period of weaker economic activity and cautious hiring policies. The latest KPMG and REC, UK Report on Jobs survey published earlier this month shows the steepest drop in permanent placements for over three years.

Of the 38% of workers planning to change career due to the rising cost-of-living specifically, over half (57%) will be looking to change roles within a year highlighting the immediate issues facing UK workers.

Financial services sector viewed favorably by those looking to change career due to high pay expectations

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KPMG’s research looked at perceptions of a career in the financial services sector. The financial services sector is still regarded very favourably by those looking to change career, with four fifths (82%) of workers that are looking to move job and currently working in non-FS sectors, would consider a job in Financial Services.

The most common reason given for this was high salary and bonus expectations (47%), followed by the fact that it sounds interesting (31%) and has a good work-life balance (25%).

KPMG UK head of financial services, Karim Haji, said: “The rising cost-of-living has prompted many people to question their current roles and career choices. With so many considering changing jobs, this is a great opportunity for financial services firms to consider how they can attract and retain the best talent, as well as tackling the lack of diversity within the sector.

“Tech, data and communications experts are all in demand from the Financial Services industry, so it is crucial that the sector focuses on attracting workers in these disciplines, particularly if it is to keep ahead of the demands around consumer duty.”

Despite the increasing desire from workers to move into the sector, 67% of current Financial Services workers who are considering a career change, plan to move sectors within a year, a significant jump from 42% last year and 44% in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Karim concluded: “Many financial services firms have experienced a difficult year with trading volumes down as investors grew more cautious about volatile markets and rising interest rates. Hiring may be down from the recruitment spree which followed the Covid-19 pandemic but there is still diversity of roles within the sector. I’d encourage applicants to do their research and not be put off by old fashioned stereotypes.”