Frontline service careers soar in 2020 due to COVID

A record number of young Australians are seeking careers in frontline law enforcement and healthcare roles, following the high levels of uncertainty and threats to health during 2020, according to new data released today.

Analysis of more than 3 million career searches during 2019-20 has revealed startling changes in career demand during the pandemic year with the number of searches for Australian Federal Police officer careers rising from just 138 in 2019 to 27,686 so far during 2020.

Searches for information about careers in frontline health roles have soared, with a 121% increase in searches for surgery career information and a 68% growth in searches for Registered Nurse roles. These increases have been at the expense of a range of allied health roles, with Physiotherapy dropping from top of the 2019 search list to ninth position on the 2020 list.

Data is drawn from the number of career searches on the Good Universities Guide website, Australia’s leading independent source of career and course information. While there were just over 1.5 million searches in 2019, the increased uncertainty of high school students trying to work out what course to study in 2020 has increased the rate of searching, with more than 1.67 million searches already this year.

Analysis of the Good Universities Guide data by higher education consultants Twig Marketing and Australia’s leading higher education publishers, Good Education Media, has identified a range of pronounced trends during 2020.

“COVID-19, civil strife overseas and a year of disruption that is unprecedented in a generation appear to have profoundly changed course and career aspirations for young Australians,” Twig Marketing Director Tim Winkler said.

“Analysis of more than three million career searches over the past two years has indicated some clear trends. Interest in health careers that are not perceived as frontline roles has dropped significantly, while frontline career searches have skyrocketed.

“Industries that have been hard-hit by COVID have really slumped in popularity – with searches for careers in the travel industry, university sector and hospitality sector all falling by as much as one third.

“The data tells a story of young people who are really drawn to frontline service roles – whether that’s through a sense of duty or because those roles offer more secure employment at the moment is hard to tell.”

Good Education CEO Mr Chris Lester said the huge changes in demand indicated how important the Change of Preference period was going to be this year, following the release of year 12 results.

“Australia’s young people have focused their attention on careers that will enable them to contribute after a year of tremendous change,” Mr Lester said.

“At the same time, while there has been a big surge in interest in roles such as surgeons, psychologists and police officers, there are some strict limits on the number of people who can pursue each of those careers, so there has never been a more important time for students to have the opportunity to re-evaluate their choice of course and career.

“We have had such strong feedback from universities and from students that this year’s school leavers are hungry for more information, and there is a widespread expectation that many students will be reconsidering their courses once they get to see their results.

“It’s clear that students are hungry for more information about course choices. While many of the top 20 courses are the same each year, the huge change in preferences this year means that we need to have more conversations about what careers Australian students should be seeking in 2020.”

In response to widespread demand for more information, Twig and Good Education will be providing additional resources to advise school leavers on career options and course choices during 2020 Change of Preference Expos in December this year.

Top Australian Career Searches 2019-20

Top 15 Careers 2019

Top 15 Careers 2020

Source: Data is sourced from the number of career searches on The Good Universities Guide website, Australia’s leading independent source of career and course information There were more than 1.5 million during 2019 and there have so far been more than 1.67 million searches in 2020. Please acknowledge the Good Universities Guide when quoting or referencing this data.

Good Education Media and Twig Marketing Careers Report 2020
Nov 2020
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