University of Phoenix® School of Business commissioned a 2017 survey on Americans’ feelings toward changing careers to better understand barriers workers face preventing them from a career change.

As the job market continues to expand, the trend toward new career paths is bound to grow stronger. Over half of survey respondents (58 percent) are at least somewhat interested in changing careers, but not many are actually taking strides to do so. It can be overwhelming to make a career change and survey results reveal a wide variety of barriers.

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The majority of working adults who are interested in changing careers identify barriers in doing so. These include affordability, not knowing which career to change to and inadequate education or experience.


The youngest members of the workforce are even more likely to seek a shift in their career with 86 percent of respondents in their 20s reporting they have an interest in a career change.

Because some cited a lack of adequate education or experience may be preventing them from changing careers, working adults may consider taking advantage of education to help refresh, rebuild or learn new skills in order to take that leap. Over a third of respondents agree that pursuing online courses might encourage working adults to seek more education.


Additional Findings

Top reasons respondents are interested in changing careers

  • 41% -- I don’t make enough money
  • 28% -- I am burned out in my current field
  • 26% -- There is no upward mobility in my current field
  • 24% -- I have lost interest or passion in my field


The career change survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of University of Phoenix between Feb. 6-8, 2017, among 2,202 U.S. adults aged 18 and older, including 1,140 who are full-time, part-time, or self-employed. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Melany Stroupe.