Originally published to Built In - October 5, 2021
Even before Covid-19, the workforce was already starting to shift, thanks to new technology and opportunities. But in the midst of the pandemic, and the remote work revolution that ensued, even more Americans are reconsidering their career paths—and not just those in college. According to a recent survey, 47 percent of Gen X workers are contemplating a new job, and nearly 80 percent would be happier with a four-day workweek.
The pandemic shed light on the vulnerabilities in the American workforce, specifically in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As the highly contagious delta variant threatens American businesses, older workers who relied on unemployment while navigating their next steps are facing a difficult choice: Do I go back to a job I could lose again that also puts my health at risk, or spend time and money I don’t have to switch careers?
Better Opportunities Are Out There
Many believe it is too late or nearly impossible to completely switch industries without experience or a college education in that particular new field, but the past year has shown that this couldn’t be further from the truth. A career change after 40 seems daunting to many, but with workers in high-demand and the tech industry struggling to fill all its open positions, the shifting workforce is in favor of those looking to start a new path, no matter age or experience.
There are more than 10 million open jobs in the United States today and over one million more jobs than people searching for employment. Sixty percent of active job seekers have looked at opportunities in career fields that differ from where they work now, and the majority of Americans who are either employed or looking for a job say they are likely to seek new employment within the next 12 months.
For all those looking to take the leap to follow new career paths with more stable schedules, better working conditions and higher pay, this is great news. Job seekers hold all the power in our current labor market, with employers fighting for top talent as applicants have a wider range of options with the increased popularity of remote work after the past year.
Specifically in the tech industry, many large corporations have pushed back in-person start dates or removed back-to-office plans entirely, meaning talent from other parts of the country can continue to navigate their way in the industry thanks to remote opportunities.
Reskilling Programs Offer an Alternative
This newfound world of remote work gives those searching to leap into new careers later in life the optimal chance to start in the tech industry. Reskilling programs allow experienced job seekers to quickly gain new skills in high demand during this shift in America’s workforce. With a flexible schedule and affordable tuition—less than half the price of traditional college—students in reskilling programs have the freedom to create a new life on their own time, and within a reasonable budget.
The United States has collectively racked up over $1.6 trillion in college debt, and 20 percent of adults still owe some form of student loan, even decades after they graduate. This has led many Americans to look for alternatives that provide the skills necessary to excel in their career, without a lengthy and costly education.
Reskilling programs give students the fundamental skills to succeed in lucrative fields such as healthcare and IT in a matter of months. And with job openings in IT expected to grow by 11 percent, and healthcare by 15 percent, in the next decade, it is not only possible, but highly likely that Americans looking to switch careers later in life will be able to start a high-paying, secure job by the beginning of the new year.
There are millions of Americans taking a harder look at their career options and feeling the pressure to make a change as the pandemic drags on. But putting their health at risk by working an in-person job, or going back to college for an expensive degree aren’t the only options. Reskilling is the future for the 30-plus workforce in America, and it’s never too late to start working—remotely—towards a new dream.
To learn more about Tech Elevator, visit techelevator.com