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Aussie worker’s stark uni warning after landing successful job: ‘Used to think I was a failure’

Tash said she's earning more than she thought she could ever get despite not having a degree.

A young Aussie worker who found success without a university degree is urging others to consider career paths that won’t land you with a huge HECS debt. Studying hard at high school to get into a good university course has been sold as the ticket to a happy working life.

But there are plenty of jobs that don't require a degree and can pay very well if you climb the ladder. Tash Markham is proof you can get ahead in life without having that slip of paper from a university.

She told Yahoo Finance she "wished" someone had told her this when she was in her early 20s "trying to navigate what I wanted to do".

Two photos of Tash
Tash is now working in a dream job after starting three degrees. (Source: TikTok/tash.markham/Supplied)

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She started not one, not two, but three different degrees but didn't finish any of them. Despite that, she's ended up in a job that she loves and wants others to know there are other pathways to success.


Now working in leadership operations, she had a message for Aussies fearing university was the only path to a stable income.

"I used to think I was a failure, and I was less than because I didn't have a degree on my resume," she said.

"I think it's just really important to remember that a uni degree is not the be all and end all.

"If I had seen myself now three years ago, knowing that I'm in a job that I absolutely love, I am excited to go to work every day, I have some incredible opportunities, I get to travel around the country for work, and I'm earning more than I ever thought I would in my lifetime; honestly, there's no way I would have believed you."

She said it's very possible to work in a great job that you love without spending years studying and racking up tens of thousands of dollars of student debt at university.

"It is not the end of the world; you're not less than for not having a degree," she said.

In fact, there are some jobs paying more than $170,000 a year that don't require a university degree.

You just need to know where to find them and what skills you need.

Indeed recently released a list of the highest-paying jobs in this area and found construction managers topped the list with a salary of $171,341 per year, on average.

“You would need to have worked in the construction field, probably starting in a more entry-level role and working your way up into that type of role,” Indeed's career coach Sally McKibbin explained to Yahoo Finance.

“But it isn’t something that requires a degree.”

Project managers came in second place with an average salary of $125,052 per year, followed by underground miners, who could net around $120,399 per year.

“Every job on that list still requires quite a large range of skills, whether those are soft skills or technical skills,” McKibbin said.

“While people don’t need formal qualifications, they will be looking for relevant experience or those transferable skills.

“They may still require some other qualifications, such as a diploma or certificate. If you have that, you can work your way up to some of these highest-paying roles without a degree.”

Indeed also found that if you're going down the route of university and want a job, then you'll need to have some experience under your belt.

The majority of both employers (68 per cent) and graduates (61 per cent) thought undergraduate degrees were no longer enough to secure a good job. Most bosses (59 per cent) said they were more likely to hire a grad with internship or work experience, over one without it.

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