Stop the office, we want to get off!

Aug 17 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Millions of office workers in the UK long to swap their inbox for a toolbox, a saucepan or even a tractor, as frustration, stress and disillusionment encourages them to think seriously about a radical change of career.

Research from vocational awards body City & Guilds has found that a third of those surveyed want to change jobs, with almost one in five wanting to get their hands dirty in a more practical or outdoor job.

More than one in eight (13 per cent) lawyers said that they wanted to become farmers, while a similar proportion of architects hanker to pick up a brush and become artists or cartoonists.

Wanting to be your own boss and running the show is one of the main triggers for nearly a sixth (17 per cent) of career swappers, with those working in the media (40 per cent), engineers (33 per cent) and pharmacists (25 per cent) most likely to be self-starters.

Stress and frustration were cited as key reasons for people wanting a change. One in five said that stress was the main reason for job dissatisfaction while almost as many said that they were tired of the administrative burden of their job.

The survey also found that the longer professionals have been in their careers, the more likely they are to want to move onto pastures new.

More than one in four (43 per cent) of those who have been in their existing profession for more than 10 years want to switch careers, rising to almost six out of ten among those who may have reached the pinnacle of their career in the 40 to 49 year age group.

And one of the major causes responsible for triggering discontent are key age milestones, which have prompted a quarter of the respondents to jump ship, followed by one in five who have been influenced by talking to friends or seeing inspirational ‘downshifting’ TV programmes.

Chris Humphries, Director General at City & Guilds said: “Our research findings indicate that self-employment is a popular choice as workers push job satisfaction up the agenda. Britain has always had a strong enterprise culture, but anyone considering the self-employment route needs a certain set of skills to succeed, such as financial management and marketing."

To help ease people off the office treadmill, City & Guilds is providing would-be entrepreneurs with tools and expertise to help them start up and manage their own at: