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Do you have a positive job outlook?

By Fi Darby | 27 April 2018

The term ‘job outlook’ is a far reaching one and it is important to understand the different elements by how job outlook is measured. Job outlook can be measured in two ways:

  1. on a national level - referring to the changes in the number of people employed in a particular industry, or
  2. on an industry level - so that the prospects of different roles within a given industry are compared. It can refer to your own career prospects, in particular your chances of promotion. 

It is important on both levels to make sure that you are in a role with a positive job outlook, as the success of your career and your promotion prospects can depend upon it. We look at why a positive job outlook is so important and give you some tips on how to make that all important move into a related role with growth potential and hopefully, prospects of promotion.

colleagues high fiving each other

3 reasons a positive job outlook is important to your career 

1. National trends tend to be set for a long time

National job trends are measured by the Australian Bureau of Statistics who produce reports giving all kinds of national employment information. By far the easiest way to look at the national job outlook however is to explore the government’s Job Outlook website, which, as well as giving a general overview, gives an indicator of how individual job roles are expected to perform over the next few years. National trends are based on hard statistics and predicted on complex computer models. If your industry is set to decline over the next few years then, no matter how much effort you expend on your role, your career prospects will be limited and promotion unlikely. In a worst case scenario you might risk unemployment. 

2. You can’t influence an industry outlook from the bottom rung of the ladder

Some broader industries, for example manufacturing, are set for decline in some areas and strong growth in others. For those managers with long careers and a wealth of experience behind them, this can be used to advantage via large scale company change but, if you are at the beginning of your career, you are unlikely to be able to have enough influence to make sweeping changes and may well be frustrated to find your job outlook decreasing despite your great ideas for preventing it from doing so. If you value your career, you might find yourself having to at least change organisations to keep the promotions coming. 

3. Your hard work can be wasted if you spend it on the wrong career

We get to the crux of job outlook here. Even the hardest of workers and the most committed of team members can’t make career progress if there is nowhere to progress to. Take a look around you, if your organisation is full of people who have been in the same job role for years, never engage in training and have forgotten what promotion is, you may well, at best, be wasting your time and effort and, at worst, end up disillusioned and stuck in a dead end job yourself. You don’t necessarily need to make an immediate career change but get your thinking cap on and start considering your options, of which there will probably be more than you think.

dark-skinned woman with curly hair high fiving colleagues

3 ways to move into a role with growth potential 

1. Think out of the box but not too many miles away from it

Even after a relatively short time working in a job role or studying towards specific career qualifications, you will have spent time and effort on gaining experience that you shouldn’t put to waste. Bear this in mind when you start to look around at alternative job prospects or career pathways and make sure you choose a new route that gives you the positive job outlook you are looking for but utilises your existing skills in a productive and promotion enhancing way. There is a balancing act to be done here because, at the same time as utilising your existing skills, you need to make sure that you don’t limit your options by looking at career steps that are too close to your existing role, especially if you work in an industry that is in decline. One helpful tip at this point is to write down, either in list or mind map format, all of your skills and interests. Once you have done this, consider each skill separately and try to relate it to either, similar roles in an industry with a positive job outlook (for example an agricultural administrator will require a similar skill set to a hospital administrator) or new roles within the same industry (for example if you work with figures on a manufacturing shop floor, you might, with some accounting and finance training, be able to move into the accounts department). 

2. Leverage your own personal network

Personal networks come in all shapes and sizes, including friends, social media contacts and business associates, and all can be useful when it comes to moving your career forward and looking for promotion prospects. Tread carefully if you are thinking about leaving an organisation, you don’t want to put any existing career prospects in jeopardy but talking to other people about their own careers and experiences can do no harm and will teach you much about career prospects and routes. In all likelihood you will be surprised by the strange twists and turns that other people’s careers have taken. Some of the most successful careers take a far from linear path and often promotions go to those who show that they are willing to take a chance and put themselves out there to be tested in new, previously uncharted waters. 

3. Upskill through online training

The great thing about online training is that you can do it while you are still considering your options. If, for example, you are thinking about a move from agriculture into community services, the skills you will learn through an online community services qualification will stand you in good stead in either sector. Communication strategies, work health and safety, organisation strategies and managing personal stress are all key skills across a wide range of occupations and will serve to bump your resume up the application pile. The other advantage of undertaking online training is that is shows both your existing employer and prospective future employers that you are a hard worker who is prepared to go the extra mile to improve your employability. Once you have undertaken one online qualification, it is easy to persuade an employer that you are prepared to take on another in order to gain promotion and advance your career. 

It pays to keep a careful eye on your job outlook and check it remains a positive one. National statistics tell a useful tale but make sure you keep the communication with your personal network up, and keep an eye on who, in your existing organisation, is getting promotion and why. It is never the wrong time to study and lifelong learning is a great way to keep yourself interested in your career and employers interested in you. Take a look at our wide range of online courses or talk to one of our advisors today.

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