As a workforce, we seem to be on the move. The ABS reported that in the year ending February 2022, 1.3 million Australians changed jobs, which was the highest number in a decade. Professionals were among the highest groups to do so, with 6.5 per cent to 8.8 per cent of them mobilising.

Whether you’re looking to get into a management position or start in a new industry entirely, it’s evident that Australians want to advance their careers. Businesses in Australia are looking for people with specific skills to help them move into the future of work.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, the top skills in demand leading up to 2025 include problem-solving, self-management and critical thinking. The Delivering for Tomorrow: the APS Workforce Strategy 2025 shows that leadership capabilities remain essential in the future to meet Australia’s skills shortage.

If you plan to follow a career advancement pathway, having the transferable skills that an MBA gives you is crucial.

What is career advancement?

Professional growth is a highly personal thing. What career advancement looks like to one person might look different to another. However, most agree that standing still in our careers is not ideal.

Nicole Green is the Group People and Culture Director for IRI’s Asia Pacific locations. With 25 years of experience in HR practice, she has her views on what the term means.

“To me, career advancement is about being challenged. You want a role that will play to your strengths, but ultimately, it should challenge you.”

If you want to learn how to advance your career and challenge yourself, there are plenty of ways to do it.  We explore the common obstacles people face when trying to move forward with their careers and provide expert tips to help you work through them.

Common barriers to career advancement

Obstacles are part and parcel of achieving any goal. When it comes to advancing your career, there are a few common barriers that tend to pop up. These can prevent most people from progressing in their professions, regardless of the industry or role.

Lack of opportunities

Employers can be significant barriers to moving forward if they don’t give you the chance to progress. Learning how to talk to your boss about career advancement is meaningless if the company has nothing to offer you. Seek out organisations that promote internally, provide development opportunities and understand the importance of moving forward.

An absence of initiative

Sometimes we are our worst enemies, especially when going after what we want. Don’t be afraid to show initiative. Put your hand up for career advancement opportunities or enrol in a course or training program to make yourself a standout. Do what you can to demonstrate your interest.

Undefined goals

You won’t get very far without a clear vision of what you want to achieve and the time in which you want to achieve it. Come up with short and long-term goals that you can aim for and plan for the how. It’s important to share professional goals with your employer so that they can help you realise them.

5 tips to advance your career

Getting ahead requires hard work, so it’s good to have some assistance. Find out how to advance your career with these practical tips from HR specialist Nicole Green.

1. Speak to your manager

Start the conversation with something simple like, “I am looking to advance my career.” A good employer will support employees who want to progress and will foster growth opportunities. If they don’t, it’s time to move on to an employer that will.

2. Write down your motivations

We’re all motivated by different things and we each have values that are important to us. Think about your values and what motivates you towards career advancement. Use these as the drive you need to get you there.

3. Use your network

Learning how to network effectively for career opportunities and advancement is a valuable skill. Build a network of people around you and speak to them frankly about your aspirations. “Someone is more likely to tap you on the shoulder with an opportunity if they know what you’re looking for,” says Nicole.

4. Think outside the box

Don’t assume that you must stay put in one job for life simply because you’re in a single profession or industry. Be flexible with your career goals and you’ll have more room to move. Certain degrees, like an MBA, give you transferable skills across many industries, so there are many ways to apply them.

5. Learn and grow

Nicole believes in a 70/20/10 model for self-improvement. “70 per cent of your learning should happen on the job. 20 per cent should consist of mentoring and coaching. And the other 10 per cent needs to come from structured education, like courses and workshops.”

How to advance your career as a woman

Everyone faces barriers when moving forward at work, but it can often feel like those barriers are more prominent for women. One of the most significant roadblocks is returning to work after maternity leave and finding it hard to reintegrate or move forward, especially if you’re employed part-time.

Nicole believes the best thing women can do is seek out employers who give women opportunities to grow. There are many forward-thinking companies that understand the challenges that women experience, so align yourself with them if possible.

On a personal level, hiring a business coach or finding a mentor can be helpful. These professionals can guide you through the career development journey with a plan and goals that are tailored to you.

The power of upskilling

Career advancement starts with you and there’s no better way to propel yourself forward than with an MBA. The most significant benefit of studying for an MBA online is flexibility. You’ll be able to continue working while you learn on the side and within a schedule that’s tailored for you.

Leadership and management skills are vital for those wishing to advance their careers. Even if you decide to switch industries and travel down a new path, you’ll have the skills from an MBA to help you make that transition.

Remember, upskilling isn’t solely about making you an attractive candidate for promotions and new job opportunities. It’s also a demonstration of your commitment and ability to take initiative.

Career advancement starts with an MBA

The best path toward a better career is with an MBA and the best way to do it is with MBA Discovery. We help you explore all options for studying for an MBA online so that you can propel your career forward in a way that works for you.

To learn about the flexible work-study balance of an online MBA, speak to one of our Student Enrolment Advisors. We can discuss course eligibility, the application process, course providers and more, giving you a clear picture of how an MBA fits into your career advancement plan.

Speak to a Student Enrolment Advisor

Whether you’re ready to enrol, or just have a quick question, simply fill out the enquiry form below to speak directly to the university’s enrolment team. They will be able to guide you through:

Course eligibility and recognition of prior learning

Course structure and what you will study

Next intakes and how to apply

Fees and time commitments