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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Many Americans who have been out of work for months and hold jobs in struggling industries like travel and hospitality are thinking about switching careers entirely.

The big picture: It's not so easy. Jumping into new roles and new fields requires training, which can be too costly or difficult to come by. And even after training, starting all over again usually means a huge pay cut, experts say.

Let's zoom in on restaurants. In February, food service workers were 3.1 times more likely to click on food service job postings than any other postings, according to Indeed data provided to Axios.

  • In April, they were just 1.9 times as likely to do so. Interest rebounded to 2.7 times by September, as restaurants slowly started to reopen, but it still remains well below pre-pandemic levels.
  • "With colder weather starting to settle in, the restaurant industry faces tremendous challenges ahead," says AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist at Indeed. "Depending on how the winter goes, food service worker interest in their sector may struggle to fully recover."

But getting jobs outside of your industry often requires reskilling and retraining, and while there are some success stories, many workers don't want to or can't afford to go back to school.

  • "People want jobs. They don’t want training," says Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
  • The prospect of starting over seems daunting to workers, especially if they are older than 40, he says. And even when people do successfully switch careers, they start with a 40% pay cut, on average.

"Some will be able to make the jump to a new a career right away," says Jane Oates, president of WorkingNation, a nonprofit that raises awareness about the challenges facing U.S. workers, and a former Labor Department official.

  • Think of a banker who loses their job when a branch closes and finds new work doing back-office finances at a company.
  • For a bartender, such a switch might seem tougher. But that person can leverage their people skills for jobs in customer service in new industries.
  • "Anybody who has earned a paycheck has skills," says Oates.

Go deeper: USA Today dives into career-switching with the story of a bartender-turned-coder.

Go deeper

Jan 15, 2021 - Health

Women's health care jobs aren't coming back as fast as men's

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Health care jobs held by women have come back much more slowly than jobs held by men, mirroring trends in the economy overall.

Why it matters: The vast majority of health care workers infected with COVID-19 have been women, and they've borne the brunt of the industry's economic woes, too.

Video game developers at Activision Blizzard say they'll walk out Wednesday

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Employees at Activision Blizzard will hold a walkout Wednesday in protest of widespread harassment allegations across the company, a spokesperson on behalf of the group told Axios.

Why it matters: Walkouts are a drastic measure for developers in a largely non-unionized field, a testament to just how angry employees currently are.

Updated 60 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Atlanta-area spa shooting suspect sentenced to life without parole

The Gold Spa, one day after a gunman shot and killed eight people at three separate Atlanta spa locations. Photo: VIRGINIE KIPPELEN/AFP via Getty Images

Robert Aaron Long, 22, of Georgia, was sentenced Tuesday to life without parole after pleading guilty to murder and other charges related to a series of deadly spa shootings in Atlanta, AP reports.

The big picture: Cherokee County Superior Court Chief Judge Ellen McElyea accepted the plea deal, and Long was given four life sentences after a prosecutor said investigators found no evidence of racial bias.