OPINION

Increased pressure to upskill as Australian workforces evolve

ADAPT: There are ways to make yourself stand out to employers that don't require a lot of grunt work. Picture: Shutterstock
ADAPT: There are ways to make yourself stand out to employers that don't require a lot of grunt work. Picture: Shutterstock

With a particular global pandemic at large around the world, Australia is currently seeing an unprecedented job market.

This uncharted territory is resulting in a sink or swim mentality for both employers and employees.

Every working professional has had to adapt to ongoing changes in some way or another, whether that be working remotely or adjusting their role to cater for the demands in the industry.

These additional factors make the already daunting task of stepping onto the labour ladder that much more terrifying for new graduates and job seekers.

In fact, the full-time undergraduate employment rate has declined from 72 per cent to 69 per cent in just one year.

A perceptive employee should be taking advantage of the pandemic pivot by noticing the demand for certain skillsets and roles and quickly adapting to be the solution for future employers.

Having studied and worked in HR for numerous years, I know how brutal the recruitment process can be from an internal perspective.

Something as simple as a typo can get you crossed off the list.

With hundreds and sometimes even thousands of applicants, it can feel a lot like you are standing at the bottom of what is going to be an uphill battle.

After venturing into technology and becoming a tech training expert, I noticed the enormous need for robust IT skills.

I have seen how the constantly changing landscape of technology has affected the way we do business, and it is important, now more than ever, that the Australian workforce moulds to the new environment.

Although, I am not ill to the fact that having adequate IT skills is just one piece of the resume checklist pie, there are other ways young grads can stand out to employers, that do not require a lot of grunt work to get there.

Firstly, be presentable and professional both on and offline.

While it is likely companies will view your LinkedIn profile to get a feel of what you are like online, platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are not off limits.

That photo of you on a night out doing something silly, may seem like a funny idea at the time but it could jeopardise your chances with a company if it does not align with their views and policies.

A hot tip: never underestimate the power of LinkedIn! It is a great place to network, follow trends within your industry and see what other working professionals are up to.

Just remember that unlike other social media platforms, it notifies the people you are stalking.

On the topic of understanding the ins and outs of technology and the platforms and systems that come with it, it is absolutely crucial to be digitally literate.

That does not mean you have to be able to break down firewalls or create a website from scratch, but rather have a clear understanding on how basic systems work.

Certain courses can ensure your knowledge is in line with the newest practices and open doors in the online evolution of our workforces.

You can also never have too many skills.

Upskilling does not require you to start from scratch and go back to university, instead it is about deepening your current understanding of a topic to improve outputs.

Aside from internships, course-acquired skills are the closest thing to "real-life experience" a 9-5 newbie can obtain.

All too often, once employees hear "the job is yours", the hard yards stop. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep the momentum going.

Upskilling and training are important aspects that are often overlooked and can be utilised as an ongoing phase throughout someone's career.

Not only does the individual benefit from expanding their skillset, but they also have a significant impact on the business.

During my experience in HR, I experienced first-hand that it costs a business more to hire new staff members than it is to invest in training for a particular skill or role.

If you see an opportunity to climb up the company ladder, take that step and do not wait around for your employer to make the suggestion.

The digitally naive can bolster their resume to set them apart from the competition.

The goal? To make entering the workforce less of a daunting feat.

Chris Tzalabiras is a tech training expert with Koenig Solutions.

This story Increased pressure to upskill as Australian workforces evolve first appeared on The Canberra Times.