There are three major hurdles Australians need to overcome when it comes to future career opportunities: age, financial status and a tough jobs market.
According to LinkedIn’s 2020 Opportunity Index, Australia ranks 17th among 22 countries when it comes to confidence about accessing job opportunities.
From a global perspective, the greatest barrier to opportunities is financial status, but among Australians, it’s age (25 per cent), with financial status ranking second place (24 per cent).
Among all the demographics, baby boomers are much more likely to perceive age as the biggest barrier (46 per cent) than younger generations. Only 11 per cent of Generation Y respondents said age was the biggest barrier.
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Meanwhile, Gen Z said the lack of work experience (31 per cent) was the main barrier to career opportunity for them.
LinkedIn Australia & New Zealand country manager Matt Tindale said that the findings were reflective of how age can affect workers’ job opportunities differently.
“While younger generations feel their age is a reflection of their lack of experience, more mature generations are struggling to adapt their skills for the changing workforce,” he said.
“Professionals are working well beyond their retirement years and we now have four generations working together for the very first time,” he said.
“Embracing Australia’s multigenerational workforce and leveraging this diversity of talent will be imperative in order for businesses to remain successful.”
The kind of opportunities Aussies want will also vary according to their age: for Gen X, work-life balance ranked as most important.
Job security and stability was important among all generations, indicating that people of all ages are concerned about staying employed.
And hard work, above all, was rated as the most important ingredient to getting ahead in life (84 per cent), followed by the willingness to embrace change (78 per cent), with having transferable skills an important element of that.
“This year, as the economic landscape and job market continues to evolve, it will be important that Australians adopt a growth mindset and embrace lifelong learning to ensure they are best placed to seek the opportunities they want,” said Tindale.
How to overcome the age barrier
Speaking to Yahoo Finance, career expert Shiva Kumar said there were three ways to access career opportunities despite the barrier of age:
1. Diversify your skillset
“As the work landscape continues to evolve, it will be important that all Australian jobseekers, regardless of their age, seek out learning opportunities that help them diversify their skillset and ensure they are best placed to seek the opportunities they wan,” said Kumar.
With transferable skills earmarked as the key to getting ahead, and employment experts flagging upskilling as the one thing to do for your career this year, it’s important that all jobseekers keep their skillset up-to-date with the changing landscape of work.
“Online learning platforms like LinkedIn Learning can give you access to hard and soft skills that are key to grow your career,” added Kumar.
2. Invest in your network
With four generations working together side-by-side, the jobs market is looking a bit bloated, and you’ll have more competition to contend with.
“But a key way to overcome this is ensuring you have a strong network,” Kumar said.
Feel unconfident about your networking skills? There are ways to take steps with the people you already know.
“You can start by connecting with your current and past colleagues, people you attended university with, or people with whom you share common interests,” said Kumar.
3. Use the right tools to find the right role
Whether you’re looking for a job or to make a step-change in your career, be sure you set yourself up well so recruiters can find you.
Ensure that your online job profile is adjusted to reflect that you’re open to opportunities, and make good use of job websites as well as any jobs that might be available in your network, Kumar advised.
Don’t forget to bookmark any job opportunities you spot in a safe place, and look up the company of the role you’re applying for on Glassdoor and LinkedIn to get a better sense of the organisation.
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