Career Change Statistics

  • 80% of people age 45+ consider changing careers; only 6% actually do.
  • Americans average 10-14 jobs between the ages of 18 and 34 and 3-5 career changes by the age of 38 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2008)
  • Only 2% of people surveyed claim to be working in the occupation they had planned when they were 18 Years old. Part of that is our limited idea of careers, but part of it is us…not knowing ourselves so we play pin the tail on the company
  • Reports of empirical data specific to the job-hopping tendencies of MBAs, conducted for cohorts of MBAs graduating in the 1960s and 1970s, have produced less-than-convincing results. De Pasquale and Lange (1971) surveyed 5,022 MBA graduates from the 1965-68 classes of twelve leading business schools. They found that by the end of the third year out of the university, 34-37 percent of the graduates had departed from their original firms. This analysis, however, was conducted before occurrence of the largest increases in the popularity of the MBA and in the number of graduates. Conversely, an article in Fortune magazine reported a subsequent analysis of job change conducted by Louis, who studied 220 MBAs from the 1977 classes of Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, and USC (Frakes, 1983). Within five years, two-thirds of the MBAs had left their first employer, and nearly 20 percent had switched twice.
  • A BLS news release published in June 2008 examined the number of jobs that people born in the years 1957 to 1964 held from age 18 to age 42. The title of the report is “Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth among the Youngest Baby Boomers: Results from a Longitudinal Survey.” These younger baby boomers held an average of 10.8 jobs from ages 18 to 42. (In this report, a job is defined as an uninterrupted period of work with a particular employer.) On average, men held 10.7 jobs and women held 10.3 jobs. Both men and women held more jobs on average in their late teens and early twenties than they held in their mid thirties. From ages 18 to 42, some of these younger baby boomers held more jobs than average and others held fewer jobs. Twenty-three percent held 15 jobs or more, while 14% held zero to four jobs.


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