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A quarter of young Aussies eyeing career changes

A big change is happening in the job world, especially for young workers. A study by RMIT Online shows that one out of four workers under 30 is thinking about switching careers. This is a major shift in how people approach their jobs.

Nic Cola, CEO at RMIT Online, underscores the importance of understanding these shifting priorities among Gen Z and younger millennials. He notes that these emerging professionals are redefining their career paths and are actively seeking new opportunities, even if it means changing jobs. Given their substantial presence in the workforce, Cola emphasizes the need to empower them to bridge the skills gap and pursue their professional ambitions. This, he believes, will contribute to creating a more resilient and dynamic workforce for the future. The primary driver behind this career exploration is the pursuit of an increased salary, with a staggering 50% of workers under 30 ranking it as their top motivation. Career development opportunities and flexible working arrangements come in closely behind, at 33% and 31%, respectively. Furthermore, a remarkable 56% of the younger respondents have plans to approach their employers for external training or upskilling in the near future. For these young workers, training holds significant importance, as one in three expresses concern about lacking the skills necessary to excel in their current roles. Cola emphasizes that while competitive remuneration is undoubtedly a significant motivator, career development and training opportunities also hold considerable sway for most Australians. He highlights that businesses must provide robust support, value their employees, and engage with them effectively. Failing to do so not only risks losing valuable staff but can also impede innovation and hinder competitiveness in today’s dynamic business landscape. For those young workers who report dissatisfaction with their current jobs, the top reason cited is not feeling valued, with a significant 60% highlighting this issue. It is closely followed by concerns related to inadequate compensation for their roles or levels of responsibility and a lack of clarity regarding career progression, both at 55%. These findings underscore the importance of fostering a workplace culture that values employees and provides clear paths for growth and development to retain and motivate young talents in today’s ever-evolving job market. 

Job satisfaction on the rise

The job satisfaction landscape in Australia paints a positive picture, with 75% of workers expressing satisfaction in their current roles. Senior and mid-level professionals report the highest job satisfaction levels at 76% and 74%, respectively, while junior workers register a respectable 70% satisfaction rate.

Interestingly, consultants (87%) and healthcare professionals (86%) stand out as the most satisfied with their jobs, while those in the science and technology sector report the lowest job satisfaction, at 60%.

While overall job satisfaction remains high, junior staff exhibit lower levels of satisfaction compared to their more experienced peers, with 70% of junior staff content in their roles compared to 83% of Owners, CEOs, and Managing Directors.

Financial considerations play a significant role in job satisfaction, with 47% of respondents emphasizing the importance of receiving an adequate salary. However, salary is overshadowed by cultural factors, with 60% valuing great colleagues and 55% emphasizing feeling valued as critical elements of job satisfaction.

Looking ahead, over one-third of Australian workers (36%) plan to request a pay raise in the next three months. Among those who sought a pay raise in the past three months, 53% attributed their request to the rising cost of living, 42% to a positive performance review, and 40% to taking on additional responsibilities.

When considering career changes, an increased salary ranks as the top motivating factor, with 47% highlighting it as their primary incentive. Flexible working hours (30%) and career development opportunities (29%) follow closely behind.

Moreover, 26% of respondents under the age of 30 have ventured into a side hustle within the past three months, while 53% plan to initiate one in the next three months. Additionally, a substantial 76% of respondents believe that technology will assist them in their roles, particularly among those in senior positions (79%).

Gender disparities are evident, with men expressing greater confidence in the uniqueness and irreplaceability of their skill sets (62% compared to 44% of women). Men also report higher satisfaction levels regarding their personal financial security, with 38% content compared to 29% of women.

Notably, 25% of women have contemplated a career change in the past three months, reflecting evolving career aspirations. Furthermore, 43% of respondents intend to seek external training or upskilling in the next three months, followed by requesting a pay rise (36%) and negotiating a promotion (28%).

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