When People Find a New Job

In our teens and early twenties, we’re still figuring out what we want to be when we grow up. As we get older, we start to settle into a career. In between, we switch jobs in the search. Based on data from the Current Population Survey, this is when people make the switches and the jobs they switch to.

Peak Age for Job Switches

Looking at the 100 most common jobs people switched to, a timeline comes into view when we adjust the relative switch rates by age.

AGE IN YEARS

15

20

25

30

35

40

45

50

55

60

65

70

75

80

85

90

Athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers

Switches to these occupations peaked during teenage years, probably first jobs for many.

Hosts and hostesses, restaurant, lounge, and coffee shop

Cafeteria attendants and misc. food preparation workers

Misc. entertainment attendants and related workers

Counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession

Food preparation workers

Janitors and building cleaners

Waiters and waitresses

Cashiers

Cleaners of vehicles and equipment

Cooks

Chefs and head cooks

Welding, soldering, and brazing workers

Shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks

Food preparation and serving workers, including fast food

Child care workers

Stock clerks and order fillers

Retail salespersons

Butchers and meat, poultry, and fish processing workers

Billing and posting clerks and machine operators

Packaging and filling machine operators and tenders

Dishwashers

Miscellaneous agricultural workers

Customer service representatives

Driver/sales workers and truck drivers

Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand

Sales and related workers, all other

Preschool and kindergarten teachers

Postsecondary teachers

Teacher assistants

Security guards and gaming surveillance officers

Miscellaneous assemblers and fabricators

Secretaries and administrative assistants

Nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides

Computer systems analysts

Data entry keyers

Recreation and fitness workers

There is a lot of change in our twenties.

Tellers

Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers

Registered nurses

Food service managers

Elementary and middle school teachers

Personal and home care aides

Receptionists and information clerks

Medical assistants

Health practitioner support technologists and technicians

Computer support specialists

Managers of food preparation and serving workers

Sales representatives, services, all other

Designers

Hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists

Sales representatives, wholesale and manufacturing

Other teachers and instructors

Office clerks, general

Maids and housekeeping cleaners

Secondary school teachers

Social workers

Painters, construction and maintenance

Industrial truck and tractor operators

Automotive service technicians and mechanics

Carpenters

Grounds maintenance workers

First−line supervisors/managers of retail sales workers

File clerks

Office and administrative support workers, all other

Bartenders

Packers and packagers, hand

Financial managers

Production workers, all other

Construction laborers

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

Marketing and sales managers

Maintenance and repair workers, general

Computer occupations, all other

Software developers, applications and systems software

Physicians and surgeons

Counselors

Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses

Accountants and auditors

Human resource workers

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

Occupation switches after thirty commonly reflect experience and education.

Construction managers

Chief executives

Education administrators

Real estate brokers and sales agents

Managers, all other

Miscellaneous personal appearance workers

General and operations managers

Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters

Insurance sales agents

Metalworkers and plastic workers,all others

Management analysts

Property, real estate, and community association managers

Medical and health services managers

Bus drivers

First−line managers of administrative support workers

Lawyers, Judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers

Wholesale and retail buyers, except farm products

Supervisors/managers of non−retail sales workers

Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers

15

20

25

30

35

40

45

50

55

60

65

70

75

80

85

90

AGE IN YEARS

AGE IN YEARS

15

25

35

45

55

65

75

85

Athletes, coaches, and related

Hosts and hostesses

Teenage years

Cafeteria attendants

Misc. entertainment attendants

Counter attendants

Food preparation workers

Janitors and building cleaners

Waiters and waitresses

Cashiers

Cleaners of vehicles and equipment

Cooks

Chefs and head cooks

Welding, soldering workers

Shipping, receiving clerks

Food preparation and serving workers

Child care workers

Stock clerks and order fillers

Retail salespersons

Butchers and other meat processing

Billing clerks and machine operators

Packaging machine operators

Dishwashers

Miscellaneous agricultural workers

Customer service representatives

Driver workers and truck drivers

Laborers and freight

Sales and related workers, all other

Preschool and kindergarten teachers

Postsecondary teachers

Teacher assistants

Security guards

Miscellaneous assemblers

Secretaries and admin. assistants

Nursing and home health aides

Computer systems analysts

Data entry keyers

Recreation and fitness workers

Tellers

Inspectors, testers, sorters

Registered nurses

Twenties

Food service managers

Elem. and middle school teachers

Personal and home care aides

Receptionists and information clerks

Medical assistants

Health practitioner support tech.

Computer support specialists

Managers of food preparation workers

Sales representatives, services

Designers

Hairdressers and cosmetologists

Sales representatives

Other teachers and instructors

Office clerks, general

Maids and housekeeping cleaners

Secondary school teachers

Social workers

Painters, construction

Industrial truck and tractor ops.

Automotive service technicians

Carpenters

Grounds maintenance workers

Managers of retail sales workers

File clerks

Office and admin. support workers

Bartenders

Packers and packagers, hand

Financial managers

Production workers, all other

Construction laborers

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

Marketing and sales managers

Maintenance and repair workers

Computer occupations, all other

Software developers

Physicians and surgeons

Counselors

Licensed practical vocational nurses

Accountants and auditors

Human resource workers

Bookkeeping and accounting clerks

Construction managers

Chief executives

Education administrators

Real estate brokers and sales agents

After Thirty

Managers, all other

Personal appearance workers

General and operations managers

Pipelayers, plumbers

Insurance sales agents

Metalworkers and plastic workers

Management analysts

Property managers

Medical and health services managers

Bus drivers

Managers of admin. support workers

Lawyers, Judges, and Magistrates

Wholesale and retail buyers

Managers of non−retail sales workers

Farming and Ranching Managers

15

25

35

45

55

65

75

85

AGE IN YEARS

More specifically, the data comes from about 113,000 survey participants who switched jobs between 2011 and 2018. The Current Population Survey asks for occupation and occupation from the previous year.

The chart above shows the rate by age, relative to the total number of people who switched to each job. So you see a lot of switching in the early years, and then things seem to settle down at older ages. If someone takes a new job when they’re older, it tends towards management or jobs that require more education.

You get a similar pattern when you look at switch rates overall, as shown below.

Switching by Age

Out of the people who worked, the percentage who worked a different job the year before drops a lot by mid-20s. There’s another shift post-retirement.

Figuring things out during

the early years.

30%

25%

Time for something new after retirement?

20%

15%

10%

5%

0%

30-34

60-64

75-79

25-29

35-39

50-54

55-59

65-69

80-84

85-89

15-19

20-24

40-44

45-49

70-74

AGE IN YEARS

Figuring things out during

the early years.

30%

Time for something new

after retirement?

25%

20%

15%

10%

5%

0%

15

25

35

45

55

65

75

85

AGE IN YEARS

The sudden increase after retirement age is interesting. Remember that this is out of people who are still working, so I suspect a new interest after retirement, or more likely, a need for a new source of income.

Switching Jobs

Given any occupation, here’s where people switch to.

Constructed Career Paths from Job Switching Data

You can do anything you want to do.

Notes

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