One in Three Workers Say They Would Change Their Field if They Lost Their Job; Less than Half of Americans Have Access to Desired Education and Training

Strada Center for Consumer Insights' weekly survey on the impact of COVID-19 finds that workers who say they would switch careers are most interested in business, IT, and finance.

INDIANAPOLIS — Strada Education Network, a national social impact organization dedicated to forging pathways between education and employment, has released a new analysis of its weekly, nationally representative survey tracking the impact of the global pandemic on Americans’ lives, work, and education.

This week’s Public Viewpoint report finds that 35 percent of workers say they would change their field of work if they lost their job. Interest in career switching ranges from a high of 39 percent for workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher, down to a still substantial 33 percent for workers with a high school degree or less.

Workers looking to change fields are most interested in transitioning into the fields of business, IT, and finance. Interest in a number of key fields, including healthcare, retail, and manufacturing, lags the number of job openings in those fields—indicating a mismatch between worker interest and employer demand.

Education and training providers play an important role in both reskilling and matching workers and employers, yet only 44 percent of Americans say they have access to the education and training they want. Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher (55 percent) are most likely to say they have access to education, trailed by those with an associate degree, certificate or some college (39 percent) as well as those with a high school education or less (38 percent).

“Many American workers are telling us that, if they lose their jobs, they want a change,” said Carol D’Amico, Executive Vice President for Learning and Policy at Strada Education Network. “It’s critical that education institutions, policymakers, and employers understand what these workers want to do next, and help them match their interests with actual job opportunities and the necessary education and training. Unfortunately, many Americans don’t have access to the education they want—and this is especially true for Americans without bachelor’s degrees, who are the most likely to need additional training.”

Half of workers who would change fields said earning more money (34 percent), having a more stable paycheck (8 percent), or having more opportunities to advance (9 percent) were their primary motivations, while 30 percent wanted a better career fit or more purposeful work and 18 percent wanted more control over their work lives.

Additional key findings from the Public Viewpoint: COVID-19 Work and Education Survey include:

  • Workers in information technology and finance jobs, each at 42 percent, and those in manufacturing, at 41 percent, are the most likely to say they would look to change fields if they lost their current jobs.
  • Among workers interested in changing fields, 18 percent say they are interested in a career in business; 14 percent want to work in information technology; and 9 percent want to work in finance, with all other fields falling below that.
  • If they were to enroll in education in the next six months, 62 percent of Americans prefer nondegree and skills training options over degree programs. Those with a high school diploma or less (71 percent) are especially likely to prefer nondegree options.
  • Forty-six percent of Americans prefer online learning programs for future education, compared to 30 percent who prefer in-person programs and 23 percent who prefer employer-based programs.

To date, over 11,000 Americans have been surveyed for the Public Viewpoint. The Public Viewpoint is produced by Strada Education Network’s Center for Consumer Insights, a research team that studies the experiences and perceptions of American adults in order to inform the development of a more consumer-centered learning ecosystem. The Center for Consumer Insights provides the nation’s largest education consumer database, which includes more than 350,000 completed surveys about the education and work experiences of American adults.

View the full Public Viewpoint findings at:


About Strada Education Network

Strada Education Network is a pioneering social impact organization dedicated to improving lives by forging clearer and more purposeful pathways between education and employment. We believe real impact comes from informing, engaging and empowering learners and leaders alike. Our approach combines innovative research, thought leadership, strategic philanthropy, mission-aligned investments and a network of affiliate organizations. Together, we work to create a new learning ecosystem that better serves the millions of Americans seeking to complete postsecondary education and training, gain clear value from those experiences, and build meaningful careers. Learn more at