Don’t give up on your dream
Go down the less-travelled path for career options, reports Melanie Burgess
School leavers who missed out on getting into their preferred tertiary course are being urged to enrol in any training or study program.
THERE are many factors to being employable but jobseekers can tip the odds in their favour by choosing a non-traditional career for their gender. Women and men can use their gender to their advantage and leverage diversity policies that make them eligible for initiatives ranging from scholarships to hiring quotas.
One area in which male workers are in strong demand is care.
Employment Department figures reveal just 6.2 per cent of child carers and 18.9 per cent of aged and disability carers are male.
Peter Scutt, co-founder and chief executive of online marketplace Better Caring, says attracting more young men to the profession is extremely important.
“A young man with a disability is often looking for someone with common interests – they don’t necessarily want someone caring for them who reminds them of their mother,” he says. “In the aged care sector, it’s often a similar story.
“We have one client who enjoys the guy-time he gets to spend playing pool with his care worker.”
University student Daniel Cavenagh, 19, works part time as an independent care worker through Better Caring for a 17-year-old man with an intellectual disability.
“As a young male care worker, I do get a lot of inquiries,” Cavenagh says.
“There needs to be a balance to give clients options when they’re looking for support. With my current client, the gender definitely helps, I know he feels comfortable with me.”
Men also are in demand in nursing and education. Only 11.7 per cent of registered nurses, 14.2 per cent of primary teachers and 37.6 per cent of secondary school teachers are male.
For women, the male-dominated careers in which they can leverage their gender are largely in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields.
For example, just 10.3 per cent of civil engineering professionals and 17.8 per cent of software and applications programmers are female.
SkillsOne chief executive Brian Wexham says women should consider traditionally male-dominated trades.
“In the past, the most recognised trade for girls was hairdressing but we’ve come a long way,” he says.
“I don’t think there is pressure on employers, it’s more that employers recognise the value of having women come in and in certain areas they are proving to be very good if not better than their male colleagues.”
DEMAND: Firefighters Sarah Nunes and Samantha Hewitt.