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The surprising reason why Aussies are up-skilling during Covid-19

Jessica Yun
·3-min read
(Source: Getty)
(Source: Getty)

As the coronavirus pandemic forced workers to stay home, people used the extra time to learn a new skill or found new sources of income.

But new data shows that Aussies learnt a new skill for a reason unrelated to their career: just for fun.

Commissioned by Westpac, Lonergan Research shows that Aussies are spending $1.3 billion on their education amid the pandemic, or about $164 each.

While a third (33 per cent) of Aussies who learnt a new skill or did a course did so as an investment in their career, to pursue a new career entirely (29 per cent) or to lock in a new job (24 per cent), the most common reason was actually for personal satisfaction (45 per cent).

One in five (19 per cent) said they were looking for a sense of achievement while they were out of work, and nearly a quarter (23 per cent) said they were taking up education for a passion project.

According to Westpac’s Davidson Institute national manager Lali Wiratunga, the pandemic has forced several people to adapt.

“It’s also been a time to reflect on our career direction with many taking this as an opportunity to invest in themselves – either by up-skilling or even pursuing a new career path,” he told Yahoo Finance.

“We gain a lot of purpose and personal satisfaction from our jobs, and being a nation of hard-workers, any sudden and unexpected changes to our employment may be stressful.

“With more time spent at home, many Australians are also now seeking alternative ways to challenge themselves, keep their minds active and find a sense of achievement.”

On a state level, residents of NSW and ACT were the most eager to take up a new skill in the pandemic (45 per cent), with South Australians the least interested (25 per cent).

Meanwhile, Queenslanders are most likely to up-skill to pursue a new career path or get a new job.

Western Australians are most willing to spend the most money on their education ($239 on average), while those in NSW expected to spend the least ($130).

During the pandemic, online learning platforms saw take-up of its courses skyrocket, with LinkedIn’s remote work course surging 10,925 per cent in popularity.

Aussies also sought other avenues of earning money or sourcing talent, with the volume of new jobs on Freelancer.com rising by 41 per cent in the second quarter of 2020.

In January, LinkedIn revealed the top 10 most in-demand hard skills and top 5 in-demand soft skills for 2020.

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The All Markets Summit returns on Thursday 17 September 2020.
The All Markets Summit returns on Thursday 17 September 2020.