Does pay or passion drive your career path?

They say that if you work a job you love, you'll never work a day in your life. But is it really that simple?

Person using laptop and mobile phone outside

Contrary to what you might think, the dilemma many students face is not what field to study but what criteria they should apply to the decision-making process.

When considering which degree amongst the hundreds that  Open Universities Australia offers, should you base the decision on your strengths, interests, and passions? Or should you simply analyse job sectors and current employment trends in order to maximise your employment opportunities and potential income? Which method will ensure job satisfaction in the end?

A recent study conducted by SEEK on current trends in the Australian workforce highlights the importance of choosing the right career path.

Current employment trends in Australia

SEEK reports that a staggering 43 per cent of the Australian workforce are considering a career change within the next 12 months. Out of the pool surveyed, 74 per cent believe their job has a big impact on their quality of life, and 71 per cent say it impacts emotionally on those closest to them. Additionally, two thirds of families say they have a family member who is dissatisfied with their job.

But more concerning than not having job satisfaction is not having a job at all. The Australian unemployment rate rose to a 13-month high of 5.9 per cent as at February 2017 but remained steady between 5.7 per cent and 5.9 per cent during that period. However, it is projected to trend at around 6.2 per cent by the year 2020, thereby indicating that informed study choices are paramount if they are to lead to paid employment.

Industries with declining employment

According to the Australian Department of Employment, the three main industries that are thought to continue experiencing declining job growth are:

  • Manufacturing
  • Mining
  • Agriculture
  • Forestry
  • and Fishing

Food for thought for those currently looking at studying these fields.

Top employment growth industries

The industries that are projected to continue experiencing growth up until November 2020 are:

  • Healthcare
  • Social Assistance
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
  • and Education and Training.

Highest paid industries in Australia

For some, significant remuneration is a high priority. It can be an integral part of job satisfaction and a perceived measure of value or worth.

The top five paying industries on average over the past year to February 2017, based on SEEK advertisements, are:

  1. Mining, Resources and Energy (average annual salary A$115,005)
  2. Consulting and Strategy (A$108,471)
  3. Construction (A$106,693)
  4. Engineering (A$103,247)
  5. Information and Communication Technology ($102,548).

Highest paid jobs in Australia

The top five paying jobs on average—as advertised on SEEK over the past 12 months—are:

  1. Architects (Information & Communication Technology) at A$137,707
  2. Managers (Engineering) at A$133,530
  3. Managers (Mining, Resources & Energy) at A$133,169
  4. Managers (Information & Communication Technology) at A$129,903
  5. General Practitioners (Healthcare & Medical) at A$129,635.


Pay or passion?

It’s important to stop and think about the job at hand, instead of just the dollars. Where there’s job satisfaction, there’s bound to be happiness to go with it. While a number of industries in Australia are seeing a decline in employment and growth, others are booming with opportunities for students studying within its fields. It pays to do your research first and to understand the forecast for employment potential in the future — target growth industries and combine it with your passion to create a healthy, prospering career path for the future.

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