Why is career development important?

Career development can help you achieve greater happiness and fulfilment. Research shows that people who actively manage their lives and careers generally:

  • have a strong sense of purpose
  • earn higher incomes - the Australian Productivity Commission estimated that an additional year of schooling increases the workforce participation rate by around 0.5% for males and 4% for females and that for every additional year of education, the earnings of an Australian worker increase by between 5.5% and 11.0%".
  • have high levels of satisfaction due to striving for and achieving personal goals
  • are well-informed, success learners
  • make job and education choices that help them achieve their goals
  • are less stressed, and therefore have less physical and emotional ill-health
  • cope with changes such as moving between jobs, becoming a student, becoming unemployed or retiring
  • are open to new opportunities.

Studies show that young people leaving school early, without career paths, are likely to face long-term disadvantage by having higher levels of unemployment and part-time and casual work, shorter working lives, lowered incomes and the increased probability of finding themselves in jobs with poorer working conditions and fewer opportunities for advancement. They also more often experience poorer physical and mental health, higher rates of crime and less often engage in citizenship activity.

According to the OECD (2004) career development contributes to:

  • Life long learning
  • Social equity
  • Labour market development.

The following principles can help you as you navigate today's ever-changing career landscape:

1. Change is constant - embrace it!

Recognise that the world around you is constantly changing. Be open to change and remain alert to new opportunities.

2. Learning is ongoing

Strive for continuous personal improvement. Stay motivated by learning new skills and developing new talents and be ready for future opportunities.

3. Focus on the journey

Don't focus on one destination only. Recognise that your career journey will be throughout your lifetime. Appreciate and value each experience along the way - even temporary opportunities may broaden your skills set.

4. Know yourself, believe in yourself and follow your heart

Pursue your passion to find fulfilment. Discover ways to combine your interests with career opportunities.

5. Access your allies

Rely on the support of your family, friends, mentors, colleagues and peers. Career success can be a team effort. Your network (the people and contacts you know, both personal and business) are very useful if you are looking for a new job.