UK Search Trends: Career Change Advice

2023 was a year dominated by discussions regarding the cost-of-living crisis. With the after-effects of COVID still lingering and post-Brexit economics making waves years after the referendum, how has this affected people’s attitudes and relationships with their careers? With money being one of the primary strains that affect relationships and families, it’s not just your […]


2023 was a year dominated by discussions regarding the cost-of-living crisis. With the after-effects of COVID still lingering and post-Brexit economics making waves years after the referendum, how has this affected people’s attitudes and relationships with their careers?

With money being one of the primary strains that affect relationships and families, it’s not just your work life that can suffer if you’re stressed about money. Your general well-being is known to suffer as a result, with the Office for National Statistics reporting that those who struggle to make rent or mortgage payments suffer from higher rates of anxiety.

With this in mind, we sought to discover what trends could be uncovered from analysing career-related search terms and attempt to decipher whether factors such as the cost-of-living crisis are having as big an impact as the headlines would suggest.

Method

In order to get an accurate view of the UK job market and people’s attitudes towards it we took various career and income-focused search queries and gathered their search volumes and trends using keyword search tools. We took advantage of Indeed’s Top Careers List to gather industry-specific keywords.

When carrying out our research, we decided to focus on highly relevant and targeted search queries to ensure the highest validity of our findings. Some of these search terms include:

  • Career advice
  • How to start your own business
  • How to get a promotion
  • How to make more money
  • How to change career
  • How to get a pay rise

 

What are employees searching for when it comes to career advice?

 

The search terms that we have seen the highest rise in, unsurprisingly, generally relate to how someone can earn more money through their job. Best paying jobs had the largest rise in search terms, with a huge 152% increase from 2013 to 2023, with a peak in 2022, with the cost-of-living crisis beginning in late 2021.

Alongside this, What are the best paying jobs also saw an 85% rise when 2013 is compared to 2023, suggesting that searchers are keener to look for pastures new now than 10 years ago. This is compounded with the 26% rise in people searching What job should I do?

On the other side of the coin, there are clearly still people looking to earn more at their current company. An 83% rise when comparing 2013 to 2023 saw the search term peak in 2022, perhaps owing to favourable treatment of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Strangely, there was a 5% decrease in people searching for How to get a promotion, indicating that perhaps some workers feel that their current workload is undervalued.

Career advice as a general search term saw a 64% drop, again indicating that money is a more important factor in 2023 rather than building a career.

When considering that mental health is perhaps more spoken about than ever, it is surprising to see that the search term Best work-life balance jobs took a 3% hit when comparing 2013 to 2023, this again shows that despite mental health still being a priority for a lot of people and a lot of companies, most people’s primary focus in income and career goals.

When are employees more likely to search for career advice?

 

The time and dates when queries are being searched indicates a lot of things about why someone might be searching them at those particular times.

January comes at the start of a new year when people reflect on changes they can make in their lives. It also comes after the busy Christmas period when people notice the squeeze that little bit more and may even be more aware of their finances during a busy spending period.

With this in mind, it is no wonder that searches related to finding a new, higher paying job peak in January. People may also experience higher levels in anxiety when going back to a job they don’t like after time off over Christmas.

Perhaps more worryingly is the fact that these types of search terms peak at 4am, indicating that there are plenty of people who are losing sleep over their occupational and financial wellbeing.

Which career paths have seen an increase in interest?

 

Over the past 10 years, technology has boomed and along with it, data. There is now more data available about just about any topic you can think of thanks to the rise of social media platforms, online retailers, and media outlets. Unsurprisingly then, there has been a massive rise in the demand for data analysts, and people have clearly picked up on this with the search term How to become a data analyst showing an 833% increase from 2013 to 2023.

Similarly, jobs such as software engineers and data scientists are also in the spotlight with increases of 272% and 192% respectively, showing that the job market is moving more towards digital production or output.

The small increase in the search term How to become a manager shows that this is still considered a viable and fairly straightforward career path to increase salary. However, when comparing this to the tech-based professions that have seen their popularity skyrocket in the last 10 years, it perhaps suggests that people are favouring a career change that offers significantly more money and perhaps even less responsibility than taking on a managerial role.

As well as this, How to become an accountant saw a drop of 17% with its least popular year coming in 2023. Despite the profession still being the highest industry-specific search term, there seems to be an exodus in the profession. The Wall Street Journal reports that “More than 300,000 U.S. accountants and auditors have left their jobs” between 2020 and 2022, a 17% decline.

Career and Income-focused Searches That Peaked in 2023

 

With factors such as the COVID-19 economic aftermath and the cost-of-living crisis weighing heavily on people’s minds, it is no surprise to learn that terms relating to earning more and career changes peaked in 2022 and 2023.

It’s also clear to see that the job market, and by extension, workers’ career aspirations are moving with the times to focus more on tech-orientated professions. Jobs such as data analyst didn’t exist in the same capacity 10 years ago as they do now, this peak in searches emphasises the importance of reskilling or upskilling to remain relevant in an everchanging job market.

Over the past 20 years, the whole world has evolved massively with the advent of new technologies and the development of existing ones leading to the emergence of brand-new career paths that weren’t possible to plot without the benefit of hindsight.

By keeping your finger on the pulse and a keen eye on search terms, you can assess the direction of the job market and assess whether it may be time to transfer your skills to another profession or even completely retrain in order to have a more fulfilling career. Who knows what niche job may be at the top of the search queries in the next 10 years.

 

 

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