The rise of career changers in 2024 & how businesses can respond

Peter Jackson our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 07 February 2024

Last year was the year of talent shortages. Prior to that, 2022 saw waves of quiet quitting, while 2021 was marked by the Great Resignation. Today’s employment landscape constantly keeps employers on their toes, and this year is no exception.


I’ve been speaking to both senior business leaders and candidates to understand what firms can expect from employees in 2024. 


There’s one theme that keeps coming up: senior and even junior employees feel stuck in their roles, and the disconnect between the cost of living and declining income is making them less risk-averse when it comes to a career change.


Today’s economy is tough, and to many it feels (and in many cases is) like working harder no longer brings more rewards. For hard-pressed employers, this could lead to a staff exodus and a continued struggle to fill positions. But for businesses who keep their eye on recruitment and their finger on the pulse, this rise of career changers provides new opportunities to attract top talent. 

The state of employment in 2024

One observation I’ve made a few times is that bonuses are not going to be where they’re expected to be in Q1 of 2024. Even finance professionals, who usually earn twice as much in bonuses than any other industry, will feel the squeeze as investment banks announce further cuts to their reward pots.


But it’s not just bonuses that are set to decline. According to statistics posted by the Telegraph, British wage growth has slowed from 8% to 7.2% - the most in nearly two years. Meanwhile, the cost of living continues to soar, prompting an alarming 40% of UK workers to consider a career change in an effort to improve their living standards.

What does this mean for businesses?

These statistics ratify the conversations I’ve been having with candidates and senior leaders. Through no fault of their own, companies simply can’t reward their workers properly. 


As a result, I predict that unprepared businesses will find it increasingly difficult to withstand the impact of suddenly losing a key leader or valued employee. Employers struggled to fill open positions last year, and with no sign that cost of living will drop anytime soon, these talent shortages are only going to worsen as more employees leave. 


This will be compounded by the fact that search firms are dominating the recruitment landscape, with a keen eye on targeting highly desirable and diverse candidates. This causes problems in businesses finding like-for-like replacements. 


An unexpected departure also blows holes in an organisation’s succession plan. You’ve invested months, even years into building a diverse team of high-performing talent and nurturing them for future leadership roles. That all unravels when a key employee decides to leave. Not only does it create unanticipated gaps in leadership and expertise, it also leads to a loss of institutional knowledge and challenges in maintaining operational continuity. 

So, what do employees want and how can businesses respond?

Knowing what employees want gives you an opportunity to tap into their unmet needs - and gives highly skilled talent a place to go. 


According to the International Accounting Bulletin, today’s challenging economy has had a profound impact on UK workers’ employment priorities:

  • 38% want improved salary and benefits
  • 29% want more flexibility to work from home
  • 23% want more job security 


As an employer, you can no longer count on loyalty when other drivers force market moves. To retain good people and future-proof your business, you may have to consider higher counteroffers or other non-financial incentives, such as promotions, shares or long-term incentive plans (LTIPs).


For the financial services sector in particular, where talent shortage is a major challenge for over 73% of executives, businesses will have to look outside of the industry in order to fill these gaps. This has the added benefit of enhancing their diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) efforts by bringing in fresh perspectives, diverse skill sets and varied experiences.

How Hanover can help

The rise of career changers creates a brand new pool of talent - and you can benefit from it if you know how to capitalise on it. Whether it’s offering flexible work arrangements or competitive benefits, knowing how to attract and retain these workers will allow your business to stay competitive and win the war for talent. 


Doubling down on retention efforts will be crucial this year. It will be equally important for candidates considering a career change to have well-defined priorities and trajectories. At Hanover, we facilitate both business and career growth, helping to drive strategy for organisations and opportunities for job seekers.


Contact me directly to explore how you can retain valuable talent or get more from your career.

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