Menu

Education Today Logo


newsletter

Education Today Cover Browse Issue

How Australian graduates can succeed in today’s job market

News Image

Making the transition from education to work is a tough one, but it’s easier with a plan and skills that employers are demanding, tech skills are important but so are soft skills and an ability to keep learning.

According to the 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide, digitisation is transforming roles and processes across a range of industries, including in the finance and accounting sector. Companies are looking for finance and accounting professionals who can demonstrate skills in areas like Microsoft Dynamics 365, SAP/Oracle and are Chartered Accountant or Certified Practising Accountant accredited. In the financial services sector, the top skills in demand include IFRS 17 reporting, fund accounting and regulatory reporting. Experience comes from on-the-job training, so undertaking professional development programs and internships before finishing study can help foster this.

Within the IT industry, candidates with backgrounds in coding, especially Java, C#, C++, and in particular React are in high demand. At a minimum, new graduates should ensure they are able to read, work with, interpret and tell stories through data Identifying and matching high appetite skills allows graduates to provide tangible value to an employer and as such distinguish themselves in the pool of competing applicants.

Alongside technical knowledge and digital prowess, emotional intelligence is becoming increasingly valued. Soft skills such as communication and negotiation, teamwork, creative problem solving and adaptability are now considered critical to career success, due to their role in influencing organisational stakeholders and making data-driven, strategic decisions.

Take, for example, the role of an accountant. Many businesses now have access to sophisticated automation software and AI, so they’re increasingly looking for trusted advisors that are excellent communicators, not just bookkeepers.

Following the Royal Banking Commission, financial institutions are under pressure to makeover their corporate culture and are looking to hire ethical talent with excellent personal skills.

To bolster their soft skills, new and upcoming graduates have a number of options available to compensate for the lack of professional experience. Internships, volunteering, temporary/part-time work, and adopting a ‘constant learning’ mindset can all help improve their employability in a thriving but highly competitive job market.

With technology evolving faster than ever before, it is necessary for professionals to upskill regularly throughout their careers. In a skills-short labour market, public and private institutions alike recognise the need to train the incumbent workforce in high-demand skills, creating a new frontier of employable candidates that can then match and offset skill areas where industries are lacking.

Australian youth skills focused programs include Microsoft’s National Skills Program, Qlik’s Data Literacy Program, and the Australian Government’s recently announced Skills Package for the VET sector.

Professionals entering the employment market would also benefit from choosing an employer who values upskilling and makes professional development and training a part of their ongoing activities. Training staff in both technical and soft skills is not only beneficial to the graduates’ careers, it also encourages them to stay with the company.

While job-hopping has been traditionally frowned upon, many Australian employers have taken a more favourable attitude towards professionals who change jobs frequently.

While the broad and diverse skills that come with multiple jobs can help accelerate career advancement, it’s also recommended that Australian professionals who are still early in their career find a comfortable balance for themselves, as taking time to ‘grow into’ a role shows a loyalty that employers may reward with promotions and pay increases later on. Generally, however, young Australian professionals should not feel shy about seeking new opportunities if they feel they are lacking in their current workplace.

Graduates should also consider temporary or project work. Working on an interim basis can help people entering the employment market learn new skills and experience and build their professional network. Through these employment opportunities, they can also determine what type of company they’d like to work for over the long term. Many employers are receptive towards hiring temporary staff as they realise the benefits offered by having a mix of both contract and permanent staff, with 72% of CFOs surveyed for the 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide saying that contract workers are a key component of their department’s long-term staffing strategy.

This positive turnaround is also having a direct impact on the career paths of temporary professionals as top performers are in turn being offered permanent positions by their employer if and when there’s an available opportunity.


19 Aug 2019 | National
AI for Good Challenge winners announced  News Image

The inaugural winners of the AI for Good Challenge have been announced, the challenge is a new national competition for high school students to tackle real world social and environmental challenges using Artificial Intelligence. Read More

15 Aug 2019 | National
Wiggle it a little bit for better school performance News Image

Turns out sitting still doesn’t work as well as wiggling marching and tapping, a beat aids young children to develop their self-regulation skills and improve school readiness. Read More

14 Aug 2019 | National
Australia’s biggest online spelling competition kicks off News Image

LiteracyPlanet’s Word Mania free online spelling competition for schools is happening again, Word Mania challenges students to build as many words as they can in three minutes from 15 randomly generated letter tiles. Read More

14 Aug 2019 | National
National Skills Week to highlight vocational education News Image

By 2023, Australia will need approximately one million more workers (5.36 million) with certificate two, three or four qualifications than it will those with bachelor degrees or higher (4.42 million). Read More

14 Aug 2019 | National
Seven crafty primary schools in a sticky $21,000 situation News Image

Seven crafty primary schools have won their share in $21,000 worth of cash and prizes after entering the Bostik Smart Schools program.
Read More