AllBright-BlogHero-18Jan How women are making moves to shift their career paths

The COVID-19 crisis has shaken the bedrock of the way we work over the last two years. We’ve seen that women especially are vulnerable to the economic consequences of the pandemic, due to existing gender inequalities...

In 2020,  reported that: “Women’s jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable to this crisis than men’s jobs. Women make up 39% of global employment but account for 54% of overall job losses.” This is due to factors like the burden of family care and unpaid labour, which women carry at disproportionate rates – ultimately, pushing women out of the workforce. 

Despite the bleak outlook for women in today’s workplace, once again we are seeing women rise up from unfavourable circumstances, defy the odds and succeed. As the pandemic rages on and continues to impact the global economy, many women are making big shifts in their careers and improving their employability prospects.

Recent research from  found that: “68% of employed women worldwide say the COVID-19 pandemic has made them rethink their career paths, with 48% of all women planning to change jobs or start working in the next six months.”

Significantly, “a massive 90% of women say they will make at least one move in the next 12 months to boost their job prospects or change careers,” according to the report. 

I spoke to five women who have made a significant career shift during the pandemic to learn their stories.


What was your career shift?

I went from working as a full time Senior Business Intelligence Engineer at a start up to running my own data consultancy. I briefly worked full time for Facebook/Meta before finally committing to my business.

Why did you make the move, and how?

After trying permanent roles, I realised that the environment I was looking for, I would be better off creating myself. During lockdown, I joined Slack communities for people who work in data and use the same tools. I realised there was a high demand for the skill set I could offer and a low supply of engineers. 

I decided I could fully commit to freelancing and more specifically, create a bridge between the talent pool that really wanted to work in these roles but didn’t necessarily have the required support to upskill, and the companies who needed those hands. 

How has it gone?

It’s been intense! I underestimated how much I would be thinking about work, but it’s gone really well thus far. It was definitely the best time to make the move and I’m ready for 2022 when it’ll be all about growth and sustainability for the business.


What was your career shift?

I was working in development for a production company that creates high end drama for TV. Now, I work as a freelancer writing copy and content.   

Why did you make the move, and how?

Professionally, I knew I wanted to write full time and develop my digital skills – things I couldn’t do in my permanent job. I also wanted to find work that aligned with my passion and interest. I’m lucky this is now the case, as I specialise in writing for purpose-led brands and creatives.

Whilst working full time, I completed a professional diploma with the Digital Marketing Institute and Westminster University in the evenings. I also opened a business Instagram account, promoting my services and pitching for work. Once I’d secured regular work with a small digital agency, I took the leap to go freelance.

How has it gone?

I felt much happier and less stressed without the commute into London. Of course, freelance life brings its own challenges, but in general I’m happier, healthier and more fulfilled than ever before.


What was your career shift?

I worked for nearly five years at QS Quacquarelli Symonds, a major player in the higher education industry. Last autumn, I moved to food tech company Deliveroo as a Senior Product Marketing Manager.

Why did you make the move, and how?

If it weren’t for the pandemic and Brexit, I probably would have postponed my decision for another year. I had grown a lot at my old employer but I wanted to be challenged, grow my skill set and feel excited about my work. 

I’ve always wanted to move into tech, an industry that has changed the way we live. The change wasn’t easy; it took more than ten months to transition. 

I spent a lot of time researching Deliveroo to really understand the role and how my skills could fit. I also reached out to my network and talked the competition, to enrich my talking points.

How has it gone?

Looking back, I feel grateful for the years I spent at my old company but I'm happy I moved to a challenging environment, especially in tech where I feel my skills are more valuable. I'm engaged and excited to grow and build my career.


What was your career shift?

I had a high-pressure job at Amazon, leading Prime Video’s biggest content launches. I planned to leave to travel with my family and start my own business – then COVID hit.

After consulting on diversity and inclusion and launching a product, I was offered a Head of Strategy role at a leading global agency.

Why did you make the move, and how?

I absolutely loved the work that I did at Amazon but didn’t like the relentless culture. I struggled with work-life balance and really missed my kids.

After frustrations with D&I and recognising that I don’t have to put up with roles or employers that didn’t make me happy and fulfilled, when the agency reached out, it felt like a no-brainer. 

How has it gone?

I’m feeling balanced, invigorated and fulfilled – I enjoy the work I’m doing now. I don’t always get the balance right, but I feel more in control and a lot happier.


What was your career shift?

I moved from property at an established company in London to a tech start up in Helsinki.

Why did you make the move, and how?

During the pandemic, I was in a job that was toxic, not fulfilling and causing anxiety. I wanted a more humane environment, so I decided to apply for jobs in my home country and work for a company that I felt shared my values, where I could grow, feel happy and accomplished. 

Highlighting my transferable skills, being clear on what kind of company and role I wanted and going after roles that ticked enough of the boxes for me to be excited about applying helped the process. 

How has it gone?

Honestly, I have never been happier. The jump from one industry to another and now working in a start up could not have been a better decision for me.

In the age of the Great Resignation, what can employers do to progress the careers of their female staff?

According to Pearson’s research, employer support is vital: “Thirty-two percent of women cited a competitive salary as their most important employer provided benefit, followed by flexible schedules (25%), mental health services (18%), professional or technical skill development (18%) and remote work options (15%).”

Abi, Scarlett, Tatiana, Charlene and Tia offered ten tips to employers:

Listen more. Create an environment of open and non-judgemental communication. Audit your gender workforce to understand where you need to change.  Ask your staff what they need and genuinely implement it, or explain why you would not or cannot. Be transparent about your gender pay gap. Be proactive and honest about plans to decrease it. Embrace flexible working practices, regardless of industry standards.  Create space for women to be present in meetings and be mindful of childcare responsibilities. Implement a training programme for women coming back from maternity leave. Educate your entire workforce, not just women. Recognise and reward women actively and sponsor them to be better leaders. Offer support and training to ensure your team are constantly learning and feel like they’re gaining, as well as contributing. Provide plenty of opportunities to upskill, with an ongoing emphasis on professional growth.