According to a new public opinion poll, approximately 52% of Arizonans surveyed say they have considered changing careers during the past six months, and 71% don’t believe all office jobs will return even after the pandemic is over.

Nearly half of Arizonans surveyed have recently “considered going into a career in the skilled trades,” including automotive, diesel, welding and more. Respondents say they’re attracted to the idea of working with their hands, and believe a career in the skilled trades would be more recession-proof and offer greater flexibility.

The OnePoll study, commissioned by Universal Technical Institute (UTI), surveyed 2,000 Americans aged 18-35 across Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. The objective was to determine how COVID-19 has impacted the ways in which people think about their choice of occupation and future career plans. Across all states surveyed, 54% of respondents reported they’ve strongly considered changing careers during the past six months.

“The pandemic and resulting economic downturn have shaken confidence in a lot of traditional office jobs, leading many Arizonans to rethink how they’re spending their time and whether they’re really doing what they love,” said Adrian Cordova, Campus President at Universal Technical Institute-Avondale. “People want to be fulfilled and secure in their work, so it’s great to see so many Arizonans taking a second look at learning a skilled trade.”

Among all states surveyed, the average respondent said they began thinking about a career change at the age of 28, but 68% of respondents said it’s never too late to pursue a new career. Industry demand for trained technicians is expected to remain high through the pandemic and beyond. The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated pre-pandemic there would be more than 110,000 job openings for auto, diesel and collision repair technicians on average annually across the U.S. through 2028. During an economic downturn, people and businesses keep their vehicles longer and trained technicians remain in demand to maintain and service them.

“There’s never been a better time to pursue a job in the skilled trades – demand for automotive, diesel and welding technicians remains strong,” said Cordova. “The pandemic has illustrated the essential nature of these jobs that are literally keeping America moving.”