EdX Survey Finds that about 1/3 of Americans ages 25 – 44 have Completely Changed Fields Since Starting their First Job Post-College

Skills transformation is the new normal at work. At edX we’re committed to providing pathways for lifelong learning, today, we are pleased to announce the results of a survey of 1,000 consumers ages 25 – 44 around trends related to career transformations. The survey found that 32% of respondents have considered making a career change at some point within the past year, and 29% of respondents have completely changed fields since starting their first job post college. The chief drivers of these continuous shifts are a desire for salary increase (39%) or interest in another field (21%). We commissioned the survey in order to further identify the types of challenges faced by our learners, specifically as they look to change industries, in an effort to provide optimized access to quality, career-relevant education to all.

The workplace is changing more rapidly than ever before and employers are in need of highly-skilled talent, especially in fields most impacted by fast developing and in-demand technology, such as automation, artificial intelligence and big data. Faced with this ever-changing workplace, candidates seeking to change or advance their careers are tasked with gaining the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. In addition, many of these in-demand fields are so newly emerging that they do not map back to traditional fields of study – according to our survey findings, only a fifth of respondents consider their education from their college major to be translatable to their current field.

However, the findings also indicate that just over a quarter of respondents have turned to advanced education to assist with a potential career change. This disconnect between employees recognizing that they need to refresh their education yet not following through on doing so, is likely due to perceived barriers that do not allow for flexible or affordable opportunities to gain advanced knowledge. For example, the survey identified time and money as key blockers to pursuing educational opportunities.

At edX we are deeply committed to understanding the barriers that learners face when looking to advance or change their careers – and we work with our partners to develop modular and flexible learning pathways that address those impediments. Offerings such as the MicroMasters® programs empower learners to gain deep knowledge in an in-demand field, allowing them to shift careers or pursue a pathway to an accelerated on-campus degree.

MicroMasters programs, a new category of Master’s-level online education bridge the knowledge gap between higher education and the workplace. MicroMasters programs are part of edX’s mission to expand access to high-quality, career-relevant education. With subjects ranging from artificial intelligence to project management and supply chain management, MicroMasters programs are offered by edX in connection with its esteemed edX university partners, valued by top companies and linked to specific career outcomes.

You can explore all our MicroMasters programs here.