Workplace change is nothing new. Plenty of jobs that used to be common just don’t exist anymore.
When was the last time you saw a milkman doing the rounds? (Or, have you ever seen a milkman?)
The flipside is that change creates new opportunities – including interesting new jobs. Less than a generation ago, no one had ever heard of a web developer. Now it’s a common, normal job.
And for how long has “VR programmer” or “drone pilot” even been a thing?
Your workplace is changing
Nobody is immune to change in their career. The days of “one person, one career” have been replaced by “one person, many adventures”.
Over the last 50 years Australia’s economy has moved away from manufacturing and towards services. That’s seen a fall in manual jobs. Instead, one in five jobs are in the business sector.
Another big driver of change is technology. Like it or loathe it, automation is having a massive impact on the nature of work.
According to one industry report, over the last three years automation has seen three out of four Australian businesses hire people with different skill sets. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Automation means machines do the boring, repetitive tasks, while people handle the interesting stuff.
However, this means your skills need to continually evolve to meet the demands of today’s – and tomorrow’s – workplace.
Ken Thomas, General Manager (Marketing and Operations) Etax Accountants explains, “Learning and skill development is no longer a matter of getting ahead in your career. These days it’s a non-stop activity, helping you stay relevant in a fast-changing world.”
Declining industries in Australia
Of course, there’s a difference between being part of an industry that’s experiencing a downturn, and trying to stick with one that’s down and out.
Looking at one example, the construction sector tends to ebb and flow. If you’re in the building game, chances are you know that some years can be super busy; others are quieter. The key is to plan for the lean years while you’re in the boom times.
Construction may be slowing, but it’s a far cry from other industries, like car manufacturing, which has closed its doors in Australia for good.
Research shows that industries likely to boom include ridesharing services, organic farming and software publishing.
Industries likely to struggle include toy and game retailing (Toys ‘R’ Us shut up shop in late 2018), as well as butter and dairy product manufacturing.
If your career sits in an industry that may soon face a downturn, automation or other big changes, how do you get “insurance” for future changes that affect your job?
Upskill to protect your job
If you’re worried about the long-term prospects of your job or industry, there is a solution.
Thomas says, “No matter whether you have concerns about being made redundant or you just want to future-proof your career, it’s important to invest in your own skills.
Upskilling tends to make your work and your life more interesting for you, as well.”
“Upskilling makes you a more valuable employee, and it leaves you better-placed to land a new job if you lose your current role.”
Claiming the cost of new skills on tax
The upside of up-skilling is that the cost of any training can be claimed on tax as long as it relates to your current role or profession.
As a guide, a vet nurse can claim the cost of a seminar on pet care. Attending a course on fashion design would not be deductible.
The main point is, don’t wait until you lose your job, before you start investing in your own skills,” notes Thomas. “At that stage, the cost of training cannot be claimed as a tax deduction.”
Contact your Etax tax agent for more information on claiming the cost of growing your own skills.