Skip to Content

Where Americans Go When They Switch Jobs

November 20, 2017

The average person holds 12 jobs during the span of a career, but how big a career jump are most of these moves? A recent article by FlowingData tries to find out by looking at occupations in the Current Population Survey—an ongoing U.S. government survey of people’s jobs—and comparing that with what people were doing the previous year.

The job with the highest switching rate (almost 55 percent) was lifeguard. That makes sense: lifeguard positions are usually held by a younger, temporary workforce that shifts with the seasons. On the other end of the spectrum were people like lawyers and judges, whose jobs require large investments of time and money to attain. Less than 5 percent of workers holding such positions left.

When people change jobs, they tend to get a new one in the same field of work. The fields bucking this trend are fishing, farming, and technician jobs, where 65 percent or more of the workers changed fields when they made a job switch. On the flip side, only about 20 percent of health-care practitioners and 30 percent of those working in engineering changed fields when switching jobs. However, those numbers might go up soon. According to a report by LinkedIn, millennials are 16 percent more likely to switch industries for a new job than non-millennials.

Although fields like health care and technology, the top-growing industry for millennials switching jobs, are attracting large numbers of people, the jobs people move into vary greatly acording to the position they held before the switch. Computer programmers are likely to become computer systems analysts and software developers. Farmers and ranchers, meanwhile, are most likely to become construction, transportation, or storage managers. Want to know the jobs to which people in your occupation are most likely to switch? Lucky for you, FlowingData made a handy chart.

Deep Dive


Embracing CX in the metaverse

More than just meeting customers where they are, the metaverse offers opportunities to transform customer experience.

Identity protection is key to metaverse innovation

As immersive experiences in the metaverse become more sophisticated, so does the threat landscape.

The modern enterprise imaging and data value chain

For both patients and providers, intelligent, interoperable, and open workflow solutions will make all the difference.

Scientists have created synthetic mouse embryos with developed brains

The stem-cell-derived embryos could shed new light on the earliest stages of human pregnancy.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.