Choosing a career that aligns perfectly with your skills, values and interests isn’t always easy.

In fact, a staggering 9 out of 10 people aged between 21 and 65 say they regret rushing their career choices, with many picking a university course at random because they simply don’t know what they want to do and feel pushed to make a decision because they are ‘running out of time’.

Others are persuaded by parents to follow in their footsteps, often in a career that they do not find remotely interesting. Over half of the 3,000 students that responded to a GTI Media survey said their parents tried to exert influence over their choice of career or course, with 69% saying their parents tried to influence their choice of university.

It, therefore, comes as no surprise that 20% of students currently enrolled at university say they would have chosen a different course if given the chance, with 18% saying they regret their choice of degree. The same study found that 18% of the 1,805 respondents cite a lack of initial research as the main cause of their disappointment.

This lack of research, coupled with parental pressure, can be financially devastating. In July 2016, the UK Government announced that tuition fees for courses starting in 2017 will increase to £9,250 from £9,000 a year at English universities. Combine these fees with the average cost of living in the UK (around £11,000 a year), and studying in the UK comes up to at least £20,000 a year or about £80,000 for a typical four-year course.

“It’s time and resources down the drain,” says James Weaver, Head Manager at Career Hunter, an online career testing platform. “And that’s what we’re trying to help people avoid. Our tests are designed to accurately match users to careers that match their skills and interests. This helps them make the right choice the first time round, without wasting a ridiculous amount of money on something that they don’t even care about”.

Changing careers can be just as expensive, costing you an estimated £70,000 over a two-year period. That includes cost of living and the two years’ salary you’ll have to give up (an average of £26,500 a year) in order to gain some relevant experience, mostly through unpaid internship work.

Beyond the financial impact there is to making a poor career choice, many scientific studies show that the wrong career can actually make you seriously ill – the total number of cases of work-related stress and depression in 2015/2016 was 488,000 with a prevalence rate of 1,500 for every 100,000 workers.

Taking a career test earlier on in life is one of the best ways to avoid confusion and bad career choices. In fact, research shows that people are happier and more successful if they choose a career that fits their personality and aptitudes, while a UK Office Cabinet survey in 2014 found that well-paid jobs had low levels of wellbeing and vice versa.

Source: Career Hunter