Experience, education or informal learning: here’s what Aussies say most helps career advancement


Published: 7 August, 2019

Work experience has a significantly greater impact on career progression than formal education or continuous informal learning, according to recruiting experts Hays.

According to an online poll of over 2,500 (2,552) people in Australia conducted by the recruiter, 70 per cent said experience has helped their career advance the most.

A further 21 per cent said continuous informal learning has had the most impact on career advancement. Just 9 per cent said formal education has been the most beneficial.

“We all know that your skills must continuously grow if you are to advance your career and the reality is that most people need some combination of experience, education and informal learning to progress,” said Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand.

“But as this survey shows, experience is by far the most effective of these.

“On-the-job experience allows you to develop your skills in a way that provides relevant and quantifiable evidence that you are ready for advancement. Rather than saying you’ve learnt a certain skill, experience allows you to prove it.

“Provided you use experience to upskill, such as by asking for stretch opportunities or getting involved in a project outside your usual remit, you’ll grow your technical skills, develop soft skills and acquire inside industry knowledge, all of which help to make you promotion ready.

“The world of work changes so rapidly that unless you take steps to regularly upskill in your current job and keep your skills relevant through experience, you’ll fall behind. None of us know for certain what our job will look like in ten years’ time, but by upskilling through experience, we’ll be ready.”

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