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Goodbye to the job for life - we take nine jobs over 50 years

  • Workers have, on average, nine jobs and one complete career change, moving roles every five years
  • New workers will retire seven years later than their grandparents
  • New workers earn less than their grandparents but get more holiday
  • Job-hopping could lead to ‘lost pensions pots’ with 40% of Brits entirely unsure of the value of their pension reserves

The typical Briton entering the workforce today can expect to have nine jobs including one major career change across 48 years of working (1).

The research from retirement specialist LV= marks a sharp shift from past generations, with today’s younger workers set to have twice as many jobs as their grandparents, with the ‘job for life’ virtually extinct (2).

Today’s new workers also faces a significantly longer working life, retiring seven years later than their grandparents did (66 vs. 59) (3) with nearly a quarter (23%) working well into their 70s. More than half (55%) can also expect to be made redundant at least once across their 48 working years (18-66).

Recent real wage falls (4) also means that the new worker can expect a lower full-time starting salary (in real terms) than their parents started on (£14K vs. £17k), (5) and despite the working-from-home rate doubling over the last 30 years (6), we’re less happy with our work-life balance today than our grandparents were (68% vs. 72%).

While this paints a gloomy picture for young people entering the workforce today, they face a healthier job market overall, with unemployment levels at a record low (7). They also enjoy shorter commutes than their parents and a far greater annual leave entitlement (8).

Many people decide to move jobs due to a desire to increase their salary or advance their career. However, LV= has highlighted that shorter stints at numerous jobs could result in millions being lost in pension savings, as we lose track of savings spread across a number of workplace schemes. In addition to this, having numerous pension pots can also lead to confusion over fund sizes, with 40% of those with one or more pensions products unsure of the total value of their pension reserves.

Retirement specialist LV= also notes that spending shorter periods in each job could also prompt workers to opt out of auto-enrolment if they consider the role to be a stop-gap rather than a significant career move.

Richard Rowney, LV= Life and Pensions Managing Director, said: “The job for life is clearly a thing of the past, as more of us now move roles and even switch careers. The disappearance of generous workplace pensions that were ‘golden handcuffs’ for generations of workers is likely to be a key factor. This change means that responsibility for planning for retirement now lies more with the individual.”

“Your retirement savings provide you with a wage in retirement so it is important that people keep a close eye on them. However, with people working in more and more roles savings pots can easily be forgotten. For many it would make sense for them to consolidate these pots into one to make their fund easier to monitor. To help savers keep track and better understand their pension savings, we continue to call on the Government to back our idea of a ‘pensions passport’. We believe that this would encourage more savers to plan for their retirement, consider all the income options now available to them and, where appropriate, seek financial advice.”

1. Workers entering the job market today can expect to move roles every five years, take one career change and will work for a total of 48 years (average 18-66).

2. The ‘new worker’ can expect to have nine jobs in their lifetime (9.1). Their grandparents (retired workers today) had nearly half this number (five jobs) across their working lives. Projections estimate just 1.5% of new workers will have just one job across their working lives.

3. Average retirement age for today’s retired is 59. Today’s new workers expect to work until 66 on average. 23% will work until they are 70+ or never retire.

4. ONS Labour market data (August 2014) shows record-low real wages, driven down by healthy employment levels

5. Average starting wage of current workers (aged 50-64) was £3,000, equivalent in real terms to approx. £17K today.

6. Working-from-home rate inferred from workers with zero commute. Rate amongst current workers = 6.7% compared to retirees (when they were working) at 2.7%. Those saying they are satisfied with their work-life balance = 68% compared to retirees (when working) of 72%.

7. Sourced from ONS Working and Workless Households, October 2014. Workless households are at current record-lows (records began in 1996).

8. Average commute of new worker = 31.6m vs 34.3m for their parents’ generation. Annual leave entitlement has increased twice over the last decade, rising from 20 days to 24 days (for full time workers) in 2007 and again in 2009 to 28 days.

Liverpool Victoria Financial Services Limited, registered in England with registration number 12383237. County Gates, Bournemouth, BH1 2NF, UK