- Indeed data shows that in 2022, cooking staff, accountants, nurses and tech workers were the least likely to click on job postings outside their profession, indicating a high degree of sector loyalty in those occupations.
- When nurses or software developers contemplate a career change, their primary focus is on finding a job that utilises their existing skill-set but allows them to work in a different setting. For nurses, aged or disability care roles are popular, while for software developers, the main focus is on other tech opportunities.
- Since 2019, the outclick rate, which measures clicks on job postings outside an employee’s profession, has increased the most for general practitioners and classroom teachers. These positions were hit hard from the pandemic, making staff retention more difficult than in the past. Conversely, the outclick rate has fallen sharply for other positions, like help desk analysts, full-stack developers and human resource advisors.
There are many reasons why workers consider a career change. Higher pay or career advancement are obvious candidates. Some might be motivated by a bad experience in their current career or external factors, such as redundancy, health or relocation. Others may want to relieve stress, improve job security or find greater work-life balance.
Whatever their reasoning, almost all workers will consider a career change at some point, but many consider switching gears to take on new responsibilities in an occupation quite different from their current profession. In fact, almost 800,000 Australian workers changed their career path in the year ended February 2022, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Almost 70% did so via changing employers, while the remainder found new opportunities internally.
Yet some jobs seem to inspire greater loyalty than others or are simply more difficult to leave. Using Indeed data on job clicks, linking them to jobseeker resumes, we can track how often a jobseeker explores opportunities outside their current profession.
Searching outside your existing profession doesn’t necessarily mean that you will switch careers — the path to a new career is often long and arduous — but it sends a strong signal that a job seeker is open to the idea. Or at the very least not completely satisfied with their current career path.
We find that four employee sectors — cooking staff, accounting, tech and nursing — stand out from the pack. Workers in these professions are less likely than others to consider a career switch.
Australian jobs that workers don’t want to leave
In 2022, cooking staff and workers in tech, accounting and nursing were among those least likely to change jobs. These four sectors accounted for 17 of the 20 occupations with the lowest rate of clicks outside their job category.
- Cooking: Just 14% of clicks by jobseekers identifying as an executive chef were for jobs outside food preparation in 2022. Loyalty among cooking staff is common with commis chef (25%), line cook (28%) and head chef (35%), all ranking highly as jobs that people don’t want to leave. They might take on additional responsibilities or move to a different kitchen but leaving the food industry entirely is unusual.
- Technology: The same appears to be true for the tech sector. Only 23% of clicks by full-stack developers were for jobs outside the tech sector, compared to 34% for senior software engineers and 35% for front end developers.
- Accounting: Accountants also tend to be more loyal to their sector than the average jobseeker, with just 29% of clicks by senior accountants and 31% of clicks by financial accountants outside the sector. Tax accountants and assistant accountants also made the top 20.
- Nursing: Just 27% of clicks by immunisation nurses, 34% of clicks by registered nurses and 37% of clicks by practice nurses were on job postings outside the nursing profession.
A common factor between these four sectors? Each has a high barrier to entry, with workers needing to gain considerable experience, education and/or training in order to find work. That long-term commitment might signal the passion that these workers have for their chosen career, the sacrifices that they have made or they might not want to ‘waste’ that investment by leaving the sector.
The jobs that workers are most likely to leave include a range of entry-level or junior positions, jobs that are typically considered stepping stones to gain experience or have an income while finishing an education.
Outclick patterns have shifted considerably over the past three years. The outclick rate for both general practitioners and classroom teachers has increased by 18 percentage points, compared with 2019. For head servers, who lead and train restaurant service staff, it jumped 12 percentage points.
By comparison, the outclick rate has fallen sharply among dieticians and certified occupational therapists, down 26 and 20 percentage points, respectively. Help desk analysts, full-stack developers and human resource advisors were also far less likely to explore outside their existing career in 2022, compared to three years earlier.
What types of jobs do jobseekers switch to?
Focusing on four sectors — food preparation, software development, accounting and nursing — we can identify the jobs that these workers might consider switching to on those rare occasions they do consider a career change. We’ll also look at the types of external jobseekers that might be attracted to entering these sectors.
It should be noted that the categories discussed in this sector are broader than the occupation-level data found in the section above. For example, for the purposes of this analysis, the food preparation category not only includes chefs and cooks but also waiters and waitresses.
For accountants, outside clicks are typically directed towards jobs in administrative assistance, sales, customer service, retail and management. There is a mixture here between more junior roles (perhaps a sign that the jobseeker doesn’t enjoy their current profession or has been forced out) and more senior roles (an indicator that the jobseeker is looking to take the next step on the corporate ladder).
By comparison, accounting jobs on Indeed attract interest from a broad range of jobseekers. In 2022, 10.4% of all clicks on accounting postings came from jobseekers with a background in administrative assistance and 7% from people with management jobs.
The pattern for outclicks among workers in food preparation is similar to accountants. That is, a large share of outclicks are directed towards jobs in retail (11.8%), administrative assistance (9.2%), sales (8.6%) and customer service (6.7%).
The sector also attracts a lot of talent from the retail sector, which is understandable given how common it is for young workers to switch between retail and hospitality roles. But it also attracts interest from workers in cleaning and sanitation, administrative assistance and management.
When nurses consider a career change, they often try to find jobs that utilise their existing skill-set in a different setting. For example, 9.1% of clicks from nurses are for jobs in personal care & home health, while a further 4.3% of clicks are for community & social service roles.
It’s quite common for nurses to leave the healthcare industry to work in aged or disability care and that’s reflected in the behaviour of nurses when clicking on potential jobs. Interestingly, it’s a two-way street with workers in personal care & home health often trying to move to nursing. Moving from nursing to aged or disability care and back again is a relatively easy career change for those with nursing qualifications.
Much like nursing, when developers test the job market they are primarily interested in roles that utilise their existing skill-set. Information design attracts 8.2% of clicks from workers in software development, ahead of 5.6% of clicks on IT operation roles. The transferability of skills seems to be a driving factor in the behaviour of jobseekers with a software development background.
There is mutual interest across tech categories, with software development also attracting a lot of interest from workers in IT operations and information design. Clicks on software development roles from workers previously in food preparation and customer service may reflect the tendency for younger workers to pursue other opportunities while finishing their education.
Job switching rates vary considerably across different occupations. Faced with an historically tight labour market, the ability of businesses or more broadly sectors to retain their existing staff has never been more important. Clearly retention is much easier in some occupations where employees currently appear to be more loyal, such as cooking staff, accounting, tech and nursing, than in others.
People change careers for various reasons. Some are positive, such as getting higher pay, greater flexibility or career advancement, while others are moves based on negative experiences, such as suffering burnout, redundancy or harassment. However, we can reasonably determine that those occupations with a low job switching rate — particularly one that is consistently low across time — are likely to be sectors where employers collectively are meeting the needs of their workforce, and vice versa.
Jobseekers are allocated an occupational category based on the last job title in the resume they have uploaded on Indeed Australia.
Jobseeker clicks are designated as an occupation outclick if they are on job titles in a different category from the last job on their resume. For example, if a registered nurse clicks on a posting for aged care workers then that would be considered an outclick. However, if that same registered nurse clicks on a posting for an immunisation nurse then that isn’t an outclick.
An inclick, by comparison, refers to clicks into an occupation from a jobseeker whose current job sits in a different occupational category. For example, clicks on jobs in the food preparation category can come from jobseekers from a range of different occupational groups.