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Building a Sustainable Career

August 29, 2018 by Shelby Baile

Building a Sustainable Career

A career in the 21st century no longer means staying with one company or in the same position for the majority of your professional life. In some cases you may have the opportunity to move into a different industry completely.

During our inaugural Careers for Tomorrow Festival, students were treated to some valuable advice from Associate Professor Julia Richardson, on exactly what a sustainable career might look like in the 21st century.

In 2018 it was determined that Australians aged between 15 and 29 are set to change their careers between 16 and 20 times throughout their lives.

The business world is changing, and professionals are having to change with it. With the current rate of advancements in robotics, artificial intelligence, and the digital media, the future job market that today’s graduates will face is set to be characterised by unpredictability, change, and complexity. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the responsibility of career development is being transferred from businesses to the individual.

It’s time to take control of your own career.
During her presentation, A/P Richardson encouraged students to start thinking about how they can stand out to future employers. It’s important to take stock of where you are now, and ask yourself the following three questions

  • What are my career drivers?
  • What skills and competencies do I have?
  • Who is part of my current network?

By better understanding what drives your ambitions in life you can better plan out your future.

The session also stressed the importance of thinking about job clusters rather than individual jobs. A ‘job cluster’ is a group of jobs that require a series of similar skills, expertise or services. The Foundation for Young Australians’ The New Work Mindset has identified seven job clusters in the Australian market, all with various possibilities for future growth.

These job clusters are shown below in order from lowest to highest predicted future growth:

  • Coordinators – industries that involve working in administrative and behind-the-scenes roles.
  • Artisans – industries that require manual labour skills.
  • Generators – industries with a high level of customer service.
  • Designers – industries which require a high level of technical skill and knowledge of design, mathematics, science, and engineering.
  • Informers – industries that involve professionals who provide information services.
  • Carers – industries that involve looking after the mental and physical wellbeing of people.
  • Technologists – industries that require skills in the understanding and using of digital technology.

By looking at job clusters rather than individual jobs, you will drastically broaden your career options, and be able to move from one job cluster to another with better career growth opportunities. Experience in a range of industries and positions will also be an invaluable skill in any industry. Career agility, or the ability to move or change direction in your career while maintaining control, will be seen as an asset by employers.

So start thinking about your career journey now before you enter into the workforce. You may feel that there is only one future career path for you but you never know – an optimistic mindset may lead you to new and exciting opportunities you’ve never even considered.


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