Fed up at work? Don’t slow down, gear up for an entrepreneurial adventure

OVER 60 per cent of people confess to not being engaged by their work, and 30 per cent of employees feel their strengths would be better suited to another career, according to a Towers Perrin/Gallup poll. A lot of people clearly want to work elsewhere. But for all the talk of “transferable skills,” moving into a radically different job to the one you have now is not easy.

This was certainly what Rob Symington and Dom Jackman thought (pictured). They did a lot of googling, looking for alternatives to their management consultancy jobs at Ernst & Young, only to find “more of the same,” says Symington. So they started their own jobs board website that advertises alternative jobs for City workers, called Escape the City.

And it’s taking off fast. The website was launched in January 2010 and already has over 24,000 members and 1m page views. A 33-man IT start-up called Qubit Digital has recruited five members of staff through the website in the last year. Ian McCaig, one of the founders of Qubit, says: “We wanted City people who understand business and finance, not webby, tech people. The site has been great for getting the type of bright analytical business minds we want without paying expensive recruitment agency fees.”

Simon Jaffery was Qubit’s first City escapee: “I really liked working at PwC, but I knew I wanted to work in a fast-growing company and be part of creating something.” He’s now a senior business and financial analyst, working with Qubit’s four founders.

The site even helps people make their own job. Anna McKay left Ernst & Young two months ago to set up Spinach Health, a company that sells corporates health and well-being training. “I used the connections board on the Escape the City website to link up with people who could help me,” McKay explains. “I’ve not got to the stage where I can employ anyone yet, but I’ve made all the connections I need to get started, using the site.” McKay isn’t unique. There are adverts for business partners across the message board. Symington says: “The City skillset is really desirable for early-stage employers and entrepreneurs. Escape the City simply tries to put these people together.”

Jackman and Symington keep a close eye on the addresses clicking through their site and they say the “Big Four” accounting firms’ employees are the keenest to escape. But Jackson insists: “The site has never been about bashing corporate jobs, it’s just about linking up people with jobs that suit them better than the one they have now.”

8 out of 10
City professionals plan to change jobs within two years

7 out of 10
City professionals hope to change industry within
two years

60 per cent of workers are not engaged in what they do

30 per cent of employees feel their strengths would be better suited to another career