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Career change at 30-40+: how to change your career in later life

31st March 2015

Career change at 30-40+: how to change your career in later life

For many of us, reaching our 30’s heralds the time to seriously think about our ‘real careers’ and whether we’re in the ‘right job’ for us.

Always remember that you’re not on your own in your decision to take a different career path. It takes time and experience to work out what you enjoy and where your skills lie, which is one of the greatest benefits of changing career later in your working life.

Here, we take a look at some of the reasons for changing your career in your 30s and beyond, and offer some information and advice as to how to go about it.

Reasons for changing your career

There’s no doubt that being made redundant is a stressful situation.

For some people, however, it can provide the motivation they’re looking for to start their career afresh, particularly if a redundancy package can help towards the costs of retraining or new qualifications, or even setting up your own business.

Job satisfaction
Being bored, frustrated or generally unsatisfied in your current role is a perfectly legitimate reason to be thinking about a career change, whatever your age.

If you’ve got a sense that you’d be much happier in a different career, or are looking for a new challenge, it could signal that it’s time to seriously consider alternative career paths.

Increase income potential
A salary drop is often one of the biggest fears associated with career change later in life.

However, you may be thinking of changing career to actually increase your income. Retraining or taking an entry level position may represent a loss in income in the first place, but may stand you in good stead for a future prospective pay rise.

You may not necessarily have to take an entry level role if you change career. Whatever your current position, you will have picked up invaluable transferable skills that will be of use.

Career change ideas

A good place to start is by listing what you like and don’t like about your current career. This will help clarify your thoughts about why you’re considering a change, and where you might like to end up.

To avoid lurching into another career that may end up not being right for you, it’s important to devote time and effort to research.

  • Seek information from careers experts, books and online resources for information about prospective careers and the process of transition. TAEN (The Age and Employment Network) has an excellent resources section, which provides information about age and employment issues
  • Speak to people you know – friends and colleagues of all ages will have varied backstories of how they got to where they are. Asking them about their previous and current roles may provide inspiration for you, and also help you rule out paths that aren’t quite right
  • Take note of your transferable skills so you have a solid grasp of what will set you up in your new career of choice

Whichever career you choose to follow, there are various entry points that can help you on your way.

Adult education

Taking part-time or evening courses in your new chosen field is a great way to get to grips with a new subject, while maintaining your income from your current position.

There are also a number of full-time, part-time and Open University courses available for mature students. You may be eligible for funding too. Take a look at the information for mature students.


Although apprenticeships are often associated with school-leavers, they are open to all adults over the age of 16.

Entry requirements and salary levels will depend on the particular apprenticeship you are interested in. offers loads of great information, including guidance on all the different types of apprenticeships there are available.


Another form of in-industry training, internships are often offered for a fixed period of time, and can be paid or unpaid.

Where apprenticeships are typically for trade and vocational jobs, internships are more readily associated with professional or office-based careers.

They offer an excellent way to pick up industry-specific skills and experience, and can sometimes lead to permanent positions within a company.







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