Mature-Age Study Can Advance Your Career

Boost your career with education

Are you over the age of 45 and considering a return to study? You’re not alone. More than 7% of Australian adults are currently studying and 66% already hold a post-secondary qualification. Compare that to just 1.8% of people studying higher education in 1974 and it becomes clear how important post-secondary education is for a successful career. Now the real question is – how can studying advance your career specifically? 

Studying prepares you for a longer working life

Australians are living longer. The average lifespan is 81 years for men and 85 years for women. As a result, the average retirement age is trending upwards too. For a long time, the average person retired at 56 years old, but this has recently jumped to 64 years old and will likely continue to climb. An aging and healthier population translates to people working longer. 

Add to this the increasing extension of the age Australians can access the pension and you are faced with the fact that you could spend another two decades working. While a larger workforce has its benefits, it also means a crowded job market. And with the increase of automation and the rapidly changing nature of jobs, it is more important than ever to stay current with technological and industry trends.

Studying is the key to maximising your employability over the long-term and preparing you for a longer working life. After all, it’s in the national interest to have qualified, experienced employees of mature ages working rather than not paying taxes. There are good incentives for businesses to hire mature workers, which makes hiring a recently qualified and experienced worker an easy decision. 


Studying gives you an edge over younger graduates

But what about experience? Surely that gives you an edge over greener colleagues? The answer is…it depends. Employers must decide whether they’d rather hire someone with decades of practical expertise or a graduate who is up-to-date with recent industry developments. If you’re an experienced employee with recent qualifications, you bring fresh knowledge of the industry and ‘corporate memory’ of what processes work best. 

As an employee over the age of 45, you are valued for taking pride in your work rather than simply going through the motions. Your time management skills are recognised, along with the confidence of knowing you can do a job well. You may also be less focused on money and willing to be flexible with incentives. Furthermore, workers aged 40 or older are roughly 20–25% more productive than workers under 30 years old.

Studying lets you pivot into your dream career

Is there something you’ve always wanted to do but it never quite panned out? Now is the perfect time for a career pivot. You’re resilient and young enough to make a big change and your family is that bit older. After years of investing in other people, this is the time to take something for yourself. (You’ll likely already have the best course in mind that will help you break into your industry or career path of choice. However, if you need some help, here’s a quick guide on career transition planning.) 

You may feel like it’s too late for a large shift, but our alumni prove it isn’t. Never underestimate what experience has taught you and how that can benefit employers in another field. Proving your value and potential can mean the difference between starting at the bottom of a new career ladder or finding a new job at a higher level of seniority. The ideal balance is to ensure that, where possible, you move horizontally across career ladders instead of having to climb down one and up another. 

This is achievable when you sell the benefit of your experience and the skill set you are uniquely able to provide with your background from another industry. For example, using your decades of experience in sales when you’re transitioning to work health and safety by leveraging your understanding of people and the bottom line. 

If you don’t take a chance to follow your dream now, then when? 

Mature age study and you

Mature age study sets you apart. Combine fresh education with your strengths of existing knowledge and experience and you become a force to be reckoned with in the modern workplace. What employer wouldn’t be keen to benefit from such gold?

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