A New Study Reveals Nursing is Most Popular Pandemic Career Change In The UK

Nursing has been named the most popular career change in the UK, with a particular uplift in searches made during the pandemic, new data shows.

The research comes from eLearning provider DeltaNet International, who analysed a list of the top 50 careers to uncover patterns in people switching jobs and their careers of choice.

With the lockdown giving workers time to reflect on their career path, the medical sector is set to be inundated with new entrants as research shows more than 70,000 searches have been made for ‘retrain as a nurse’, ‘train as a nurse’ and ‘how to become a nurse’ so far this year.

The data shows a 89% increase in searches relating to retraining as a nurse over the past five years, and a 60% increase over the past year alone, possibly due to the importance of their role during the pandemic. 

This is compared to just a 27% increase in searches for “retrain as an accountant” and a 12% increase in searches for “retrain as a teacher”, in 2021 compared to 2020.

Covid effect: 61% of women are planning a major career change post-pandemic

The data echoes official statistics by the ONS, which show that the coronavirus has had an impact on occupational switching. Of those employed in quarter 1 and quarter 2 of 2020, 6.1% changed jobs, compared to 5.7% in the same period the year prior. More than half of those (53%) took their career in a new direction and changed industry.

According to another survey, 61% of women are planning a major career change post-pandemic, with one in four also planning to set up their own business.  

DeltaNet International also looked at search data to discover the most popular careers overall in the UK for 2021 so far. Teacher came in as the number one career choice with 303,680 average monthly searches. In second place was personal trainer with 276,170 searches and nurses in third with 72,830 monthly searches in the UK.

The most popular occupation aspirations in 2021, according to UK Google searches* 

RankOccupationMonthly search volume
1Teacher303,680
2Personal Trainer276,170
3Nurse72,830
4Accountant65,940
5Paramedic50,690
6Dentist26,720
7Lawyer26,280
8Mechanic19,111
9Vet18,080
10Pharmacist15,510

*Search volume in January 2021 for ‘retrain as…’, ‘train as…’ and ‘how to become…’ for 50 different careers.

Darren Hockley, MD at DeltaNet International, said: 

“Although the pandemic has brought with it plenty of uncertainty, it’s given us time to think about what really matters: our friends and family, our hobbies, and being in a job that makes us happy. For many, this has led to a realisation that they no longer find their current job fulfilling, and that it’s time to look elsewhere – perhaps even going back into education if they wish to retrain in an entirely different sector.

“The last year has really shone a light on key workers, and in particular the NHS, and I think it’s shown just how rewarding a career as a nurse can be. It’s also opened people’s eyes up to the strain on the healthcare system and the shortage of registered nurses, which has no doubt had an impact on people’s decisions and desire to make a difference.”

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