Why do Australians Change Careers?

Jane Jackson, career coach, Sunrise, why australians change careers, career change, careers, how to change careers, how to land a job

Changing careers later in life has become a notable trend in Australia, as it has in many other parts of the world, due to a combination of factors. In my LinkedIn post (below) I share my interview on Sunrise on the Channel 7 morning show in which we discuss why people make a career change and what people need to consider first before they leave their current jobs.

In the 12 months leading to Feb 2023 1.3 million Australians changed jobs.  That’s the highest movement in the workforce since 2012.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) research, 5.9% of 45-64 year old’s made a career change between Feb 2022 – Feb 2023.

While each individual’s reasons for making a change vary, several common trends and drivers contribute to a career change later in life.


Jackie’s Story of Career Change

I’m currently working with an experienced journalist whose focus has been to cover the breaking news for many years.  For confidentiality I’ll refer to her as Jackie. 

For years Jackie has been on the ground covering stories that are deadline driven and moving on to the next breaking story and the next. 

For many the adrenaline rush and excitement would be a key driver and satisfier in their careers however, Jackie has been feeling increasingly dissatisfied in her job without really knowing why. 

She is earning a good salary; she loves the organisation she works for and her team.  She has not been able to pinpoint the source of her dissatisfaction. She wants a change and reached out for career coaching to gain the clarity she needs to make the right decisions.

Working together we identified WHY she has been unhappy and frustrated with her work, and she is now working on reinventing her career in a direction that gives her energy, enthusiasm and excitement for the next phase in her career.

Before we find out what caused her dissatisfaction and how we were able to overcome it,  let’s first take a look at some of the reasons why many people change careers later in life.


A Desire for Personal Fulfilment

Many individuals reach a point in their lives where they prioritize personal satisfaction and meaningful work over financial gain. This can lead them to explore new careers that align better with their passions and values.

A Feeling of Financial Security

Some people feel financially stable enough to make a career change later in life, especially if they’ve accumulated savings or pensions that provide a safety net.

Redundancy and Job Insecurity due to Organisational Change

Economic fluctuations and industry changes can lead to layoffs, redundancies and job insecurity, prompting older workers to consider new career paths to ensure greater stability.

Longer Life Expectancy

Australians are living longer and healthier lives, on average 81.3 years for males and 85.4 years for females which means that many people have the opportunity and motivation to pursue a second or third career later in life.

Rather than retiring at 60 or 65 with, (good health permitting), a good 20 years or more and continue to make a contribution through work there is time to make a successful career change.

The Evolving Workforce

The nature of work is changing rapidly, driven by advancements in technology and automation. Older workers are increasingly seeking opportunities in new and emerging fields, often necessitating a career change.

The desire to keep learning can create new opportunities previously not considered. 

New Education and Training Opportunities

The availability of online courses and flexible education options now makes it easier for people to acquire new skills and qualifications without having to pay a fortune for it.  This helps to facilitate successful career transitions.

Age Discrimination Protections

We are fortunate in Australia with anti-discrimination laws that protect older workers, making it more feasible for them to transition into new careers without facing age-related bias.

There is a perception amongst some that ageism is rife, however, with the right attitude and skills, the ability to expand their network and highlight the solutions any individual can provide that will benefit a business, career reinvention is possible.

Work-Life Balance

With the recognition of the importance of work-life balance, and the desire for  flexible working arrangements many older workers may seek career changes that allow for more flexible schedules and reduced stress.

Redefining Retirement

The concept of retirement is changing. Many older Australians no longer consider traditional retirement where they stop working entirely; instead, they plan to continue working in roles that are more enjoyable or meaningful.  This could be on a part-time basis, on a freelance basis or in a consulting capacity.

Personal Growth

Late-career career changes can offer an opportunity for personal growth, skill development, and new challenges, which can be very appealing for individuals seeking continued self-improvement.  There is a great deal of satisfaction that many experience by stretching themselves in a new area.

Mentorship and Experience

Older individuals often possess valuable experience and expertise that can be leveraged in new fields, making them attractive candidates for roles where wisdom and mentorship are highly valued.  Offering their services in a consulting or coaching capacity can create an entirely new career path.

The increasing prevalence of career changes later in life in Australia reflects the evolving nature of work, shifting priorities, and the recognition that one’s career journey can be dynamic and multifaceted.

Jackie’s Story continued …

And now, back to my client, Jackie, the journalist who was able to identify the source of her dissatisfaction and create a plan towards a more fulfilling career later in life …

Here’s how we identified what would truly make her happy in her career:

I took Jackie through a series of self-assessments to identify 5 key components of her career for clarity of purpose.

These assessments were her Career Anchors, Values assessment, Work Preferences and Satisfiers, Transferrable Skills and tangible Accomplishments.

With the results of these assessments, we had an in-depth discussion as to what the results meant to her to identify the source of satisfaction, dissatisfaction and her true Career Anchor.

Once Jackie understood the Career Anchor that was a strong pull, she realised her current work did not allow her to fulfil that drive.  We brainstormed roles, industries, environments and the type of work that would enable her to be true to her Career Anchor.

This led to an ‘AHA!’ moment and clarity about the new direction she is now pursuing with renewed energy and excitement.


Are you thinking of a career change?  What would be your dream career reinvention?

#careerchange #careercounseling #janecareertips #careercoaching #careercoach #careers #career


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Jane Jackson is the author of Navigating Career Crossroads and host of Your Career podcast. Jane provides professional career transition and outplacement support for individuals and businesses.

Her Career Success Program provides comprehensive support for a successful transition.

Jane Jackson, career coach, sitting at computer, career coach at work





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