Nowadays, the pressure to stick with and succeed in one chosen field has, in many ways, lessened as more young Australians vote with their feet and regularly change careers.
Commonly referred to as a slash career, these alternative career pathways can manifest in many different ways. You may hold down a full-time job but have a side hustle or work on a passion project over weekends. You might run multiple projects simultaneously or even focus on one full-time job but consciously change careers every few years to keep your interest alive and skills current.
This type of career can blend multiple professional titles, such as writer/lawyer/entrepreneur, or it can involve making giant career leaps from actor to banker to lawyer. However you choose to look at it, slash careers are widely considered to give you a competitive edge.
Now, a growing trend is seeing many Australians pursue further education as a means of segueing into a different career or upskilling to increase their chances of securing a better career opportunity.
According to Melbourne-based startup, training.com.au, more Australians are turning to upskilling through further study to ready themselves for a career change.
Many within the education industry are predicting that online education and course delivery is the way of the future, with the annual growth rate of the Australian university sector projected to slow to 1.6% (IBISWorld, 2017) between 2017-2022.
In a recent survey of over 3,000 Australians, training.com.au sought to gain a better understanding of what motivated people to consider further study as well as the role of technology in the delivery of courses.
Marketing director, Mike Thomas said:
We were surprised to find that 43% of all survey respondents advised that they were seeking alternative employment in the coming 3-years and a further 41% identified that a lack of qualifications was their greatest professional limitation.”
Only 28% of survey respondents who were considering a career change in the next 3-years indicated that they were interested in an exclusively online learning format. 37% of participants advised that a hybrid model that blended both online and offline learning would be the preferred format. According to Mr Thomas:
We’ve discovered that students still value the benefits of interacting with their instructors and peers in a physical setting. We also see a strong uptake in students who want a hybrid learning approach that grants them the flexibility to suit their lifestyles.”
Although 55.06% of survey respondents said that technology had positively impacted their ability to upskill, not all suggested that online education was their preferred study stream. Times Higher Education has reported that about 20% of students who choose external study options drop out in their first year, compared with approximately 7% for those on campus.
For tertiary institutions, this could mean potential losses in student fees since student course completion is a prerequisite for securing fees through the HECS-HELP study assist structure.
Regardless of individual preferences to study online or offline, it is clear that technology is playing an integral role in modern learning environments. Although the results of this survey show that flexibility of course delivery, technology and online learning options influence overall student interest in further study, it is clear that student preference for traditional campus delivery is still very much alive and well.
Have you considered further study as an option to help smooth your transition into a different career? Let us know in the comments!