Do workers have more careers now than in the past?

It’s commonly said that we can now expect to have several careers in a lifetime, as opposed to the more stable patterns of the past. Commenter Russell made this claim a few days ago, but he is hardly alone. In selling the University of Queensland’s courses and careers day, Associate Professor John Mainstone said:

Once it was the case that people pursued one career over a lifetime,’ he said. ‘Now people may undergo several career changes, so it is important to seek specialist advice to allow the widest range of future career options.

Monash University’s Graduate School of Business offers similar advice:

Gone are the days when employees would join a company and climb the ladder through vertical career paths. The biggest change is the shift from thinking about a single lifetime career to multiple careers.

Victoria University bids up the number of careers even further:

Today the 21st century demands much more from us. Did you know that current data suggests that we will have between 6 to 8 careers in our lifetime, and not just the one?

And careers councillor (sic) Heather McInnes goes further still:

We could reasonably expect to change our career throughout a lifetime, possibly up to 10 times.

Ten careers! The escalating number of careers we are supposed to experience sounds like a story that is improving with every telling. Continue reading “Do workers have more careers now than in the past?”