Careers, not jobs, mind you. In addition to multiple career changes, apparently the average person is predicted to change employers 17 times during their working life (McCrindle Research, 2014).
That’s a lot of change!
There is likely a number of different reasons why you’d want to change careers. Maybe the industry you’re in wasn’t what you thought it would be, or maybe you’re looking for something different to reignite your passion for work. You might have just graduated from your first degree or you may be looking for a change in your 20s, 30s, 40s or 50s..
Some of the most common reasons people change careers include:
If any of these sound familiar, you might be able to relate to Nick’s story.
‘I had a career in the performing arts; I had set a clear path for myself and knew what I wanted to do with my life. However, during this time I began to learn more about the unwavering need for strong relationships between organisations and their public. I particularly sought to understand what is required to produce successful arts initiatives and create prosperous entertainment organisations.'
In the past, we’d spend our entire working life in the one career, but nowadays it’s becoming increasingly common to have multiple careers during our lifetime. While change may make some of us feel uncomfortable, it’s something to expect when it comes to modern careers, so it’s important to be able to accept it and adapt.
When you consider all of these factors and recognise that the world of work is changing rapidly, it becomes clear that we need to be prepared to change careers throughout our working lives.
The question is, how can you do this in a seamless way that doesn’t disrupt your entire life?
By looking at 2.7 million job ads published by employers, The Foundation of Young Australians identified 1000 different occupations in the Australian workforce, which can be grouped into seven new job clusters, based on similarities in the skills required to do these jobs. The seven job clusters and the types of job skills they require are:
The Generators: Require high levels of interpersonal interaction, such as customer service roles in retail, hospitality, and entertainment.
The Artisans: Require skill in hands-on, manual tasks such as those related to construction, production, maintenance or technical customer service.
The Designers: Require good problem-solving skills and deploying skills as well as knowledge of science and maths to design, construct or engineer buildings or products.
The Coordinators: Require good organisational and customer service skills and involve process-oriented, repetitive administrative and behind-the-scenes tasks.
The Informers: Require good interaction and problem-solving skills, involved in imparting information, business services or education.
The Technologists: Require skilled understanding of how to manipulate digital technology.
The Carers: Require good interaction, problem solving and organisational skills, involved in improving the mental or physical health and wellbeing of others.
The most important and exciting thing about this research in relation to changing careers is that it has been identified that when you change careers, you’re not necessarily starting from scratch. That’s because you don’t need to acquire completely new skill sets to move within jobs or careers within a cluster, as the skills you develop in one job are portable to another, and many of the skills demanded by employers are similar within a cluster. According to this research, when you train or work in one job, you develop skills that can be applied (on average) in 13 other jobs (The Foundation of Young Australians, 2017).
While you may lack industry-specific knowledge of the career you want to move into, you will already have developed strong transferrable skills that will give you a jump start into your new career, as opposed to someone just entering the workforce for the first time. Likewise, you will probably have already developed a strong network who may know of people who can help get you in the door at your next place of work.
If you’re thinking about making a career change, here’s a list of the things you should consider:
When thinking about your answers to these questions, try to be objective and take your time. Making the decision to change careers is not something you have to rush into.
If you are thinking about making a change, there are a number of ways you can test the water without jumping in the deep end. These include:
USQ alumnus Gavin changed his career path from the Defence Force to mental health nursing, after studying a Bachelor of Nursing. His advice is to ‘have the conviction to let the skills, interests and understanding that you develop while dealing with life events inspire you to push your career into new directions. Because when your career is fuelled by deep-rooted motivation, that’s when you’ll feel fulfilled.’
Lou Bromley from USQ’s Careers and Employability team shares her advice for anyone thinking about changing careers:
‘The Careers and Employability team have extensive contacts across all industries and can assist you to find experience with an employer to complement your studies. We also help students tailor their CVs and job applications to their new industry and show you how to demonstrate your transferable skills. We also keep statistics on industry hiring trends including starting salaries across industries.
‘If you are feeling confused about the degree you are studying and about its graduate job outcomes, or feel that it’s just not right for you, the Careers and Employability team offer career counselling sessions to help you gain insight into your strengths and alternative career choices.
‘You can also listen to career advice while in the car, on the treadmill at the gym or getting bub to sleep by downloading the Unleash Your Career podcast. And be sure to check your student email each month for your copy of Careers and Employability News, which contains graduate job listings related to your degree along with helpful career tips and information.’
Even though it is becoming more common to change careers throughout our working lives, it is still a big decision to move on to something new. It’s normal to have some hesitation about taking the plunge, especially if those closest to you also have a lot of questions or concerns about your decision. This is why it’s important to be really clear about why you are making the change in the first place.
Bachelor of Business graduate Lisa has experienced several changes of career throughout her life so far. Her advice for anyone considering a career change or is in the process of changing now is to ‘remember that changing careers is a learning curve. With each new professional adventure comes the chance to learn more about yourself, build your resilience and acquire new skills you may never have developed otherwise.'
Change is inevitable and is only going to become more common in the future world of work. Embrace this phenomenon and prepare yourself for long-term career success by acquiring skills that will translate to whichever job or career path you choose.
Derus, L. (2017). Is an EMBA or part-time MBA worth it? And how to leverage the degree. LinkedIn. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/emba-part-time-mba-worth-how-leverage-degree-leah-derus/
Koehn, E. (2016). Generation Z: What you need to know about Australia’s youngest workers. Smart Company. Retrieved from http://www.smartcompany.com.au/people-human-resources/generation-z-what-you-need-to-know-about-australias-youngest-workers/
McCrindle Research. (2014). Job mobility in Australia. Retrieved from https://mccrindle.com.au/insights/blog/job-mobility-australia/
McKenzie, Y. (2017). 7 questions to ask yourself before changing careers. Career FAQs. Retrieved from https://www.careerfaqs.com.au/news/news-and-views/questions-to-ask-before-changing-careers
The Foundation of Young Australians (2017). The New Work Mindset: 7 new job clusters to help young people navigate the new work order. New work order report series. AlphaBeta, Sydney.