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Should you change careers post-coronavirus?

By Ana Isabel Alonsagay

With the world overturned by COVID-19, the global economy is now pressured to regain its footing. Companies are currently adapting to work-from-home setups (many of which may remain a permanent arrangement), business has shifted focus to the online sphere, and workers are now re-evaluating both their current and future career choices.

The pandemic has undoubtedly impacted plenty of Australia’s industries; with retail, hospitality, and the media among the hardest hit. Considering a change in career is thus understandable, as many reflect on both the stability and fulfillment of their current jobs. 

According to ING Bank, over three million Australians are currently thinking of a change of course once the virus subsides. 

SkillsTalk explore the sentiments surrounding career change – and how to pursue these choices practically – in light of the coronavirus, below. 

The hunt for greater stability 

As the pandemic forced hundreds of thousands of Australians out of a job (either permanently or temporarily), many were pressed to evaluate the stability of their current industry – as well as their current skillsets. 

In an effort to protect themselves from similar, future economic downturns – over a quarter of Australian workers (28%) have now set their sights on upskilling, The New Daily reports. 

Though about 32% of respondents believe the hunt for future job opportunities to be a difficult challenge; and about 23% admit to feeling anxious over the economic climate, the government has fortunately stepped in to aid those looking to reskill. 

The decision to train and learn new skills reaps plenty of career benefits – keeping one employable, versatile, and up-to-date with the current demands of the job market. The practice helps one achieve career stability, regardless of a pandemic or economic upheaval. 

Current circumstances have also shed light on the specific importance digital skills and knowledge. Those best fit to survive the impact of COVID-19 are those with the flexibility to continue “business as usual” online. As stated by Tom Wheeler of The Brookings Institution, “digital networks that deliver the internet to our homes, and services that ride on those networks have leapt from an ancillary ‘nice to have’ to something critical to economic activity and our daily lives.”

Discovering new passions or interests

young woman reading digital tablet

With social isolation placing greater time on our hands, many of us have now had the chance to revive projects, hobbies, or side passions that were possibly left on the backburner. 

For plenty, the opportunity has prompted reflection over their current career path, and whether it’s one they truly enjoy or find fulfillment in. Many may also be realising just how precious, unpredictable, and short life can be; another factor drawing them towards possible career reinvention. 

For others not fortunate enough to hold down their job, redundancy was used as a “catalyst” to finally make the career switch they’ve long desired.

In an article for ABC, Brendan Moore shared his story of losing his previous role as a trainee building surveyor – using his sudden employment as the driving force to pursue his goals of becoming a medic.

In contrast to our previous period of normalcy, where many were complacent and willing to stick to the status quo, current times have spurred a momentum and drive towards change. 

LinkedIn news editor Andrew Seaman additionally shares some good news for job-seekers – asserting that recruiters are bound to assess their applicants with “more understanding and grace” in our current circumstances, compared to pre-COVID-19.

Booming post-COVID-19 careers

The fortunate Australian industries expected to boom post-coronavirus include call centres, healthcare, IT, and government jobs. 

Due to lockdowns in India and the Philippines, Telstra and Optus have created around 1,500 new call-centre jobs with the businesses now on-shoring their services. 

Of course, the healthcare industry has expressed its need for more workers; with many hospitals looking to develop a pool of applicants willing to provide essential support at short notice.  A combination of the virus, Australia’s ageing population, and the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme will likely see an increase in employment among personal care workers, as well. 

With most businesses turning to the digital realm (establishing indefinite work-from-home arrangements), IT services are in greater demand than ever. IT News reports a sharp increase in demand for developers, programmers, software engineers, systems analysts, and project managers.

Finally, with the uptick in welfare applications and payments, state and federal governments are now looking to employ over 6,000 people willing to help process such documents.

Weighing out your options

work life balance

Those currently employed and looking to pursue a career change will need careful planning. 

For those looking to call it quits, savings will be a major factor to consider; one must weigh out the finances and “runway” they’ll need to take the plunge. Given the desperation of our current economy, this is critical step.

Examining your current capability to handle the risk and stress of a career switch is also important. With the virus already prompting worries over our health and that of loved ones – are you really well-equipped for temporary unemployment?

You can also choose to re-skill and seek out new roles while in your current job, providing you with a solid safety net as you pursue the change you’re after. 

For those let go or stood down, it’s vital to step back and assess your current skillset – identifying those that may be transferable to other industries that are now hiring. Perhaps you’ve had previous experience in hospitality as a server, or in retail as a sales assistant; and can thus use these skills to pursue currently available, in-demand roles in customer service. 

As explained by LinkedIn’s Seaman, “the key is to think of yourself as a basket of skills,” determining which one may prove valuable among the jobs experiencing a current upsurge. 

Upskill for your ideal industry!

It’s unpredictable situations like these that further highlight the need to “future-proof” and protect your skillsets from unexpected economic change.

Whether you’re looking to change careers, seeking new employment, or simply looking to learn something new, Upskilled offers nationally-recognised qualifications to add to your bank of knowledge and expertise. Take the opportunity to upgrade your skills and experience across a wide range of thriving Australian industries – from community services to information technology.
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