More Australians are undertaking postgraduate studies than ever before, and they remain a valued commodity among employers. According to the 2017 edition of the Australian jobs report published by the Australian Government's Department of Employment, the median weekly earnings of holders of postgraduate degrees in 2015 was 18% more than those whose highest level of post-school qualification was a bachelor's degree1.
Increasingly, employers view postgraduate qualifications as an indicator of a candidate's ability to think, analyse, solve problems, communicate effectively and improve outcomes2.
Additionally, the 2017 Graduate Outcomes Survey conducted by the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) found that for 2017, while undergraduate and postgraduate students find employment at similar rates (86% to 92%), students who completed postgraduate education were approximately 14% more likely to find full-time employment (72% to 86%)3.
Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand's postgraduate qualification - the Graduate Diploma of Chartered Accounting (GradDipCA) - obtained via the CA Program, is highly regarded among Australian businesses. In 2016, 98 of the top 100 graduate employers in Australia employed a CA4.
The Program combines theoretical and practical learning to provide graduates with the skills to get ahead, and pursue specialist roles such as forensic or litigation accounting.
Whether you're looking to get ahead in your career or expand into something new, postgraduate study could be just the ticket.
Postgraduate studies require you to take a much more proactive approach compared with earlier education.
Having already proven that you can perform in higher education, you're entrusted with far more independence in directing your own learning and outcomes, which empowers you to really pursue your passions.
Similarly, you'll develop a different kind of relationship with your course's educators - they'll not only serve as your teachers, but as advisors, mentors and collaborators too.
As part of the CA Program, you'll engage with an experienced Chartered Accountant as a mentor, who helps to set you on the path to success and provides you with guidance and insight.
The connection with your CA mentor isn't just a rewarding intellectual one, it can also be an important milestone in your career. An Association of Talent Development survey of Fortune 500 Companies (cited in the Journal of Education and Practice) found that 75% of executives point to mentoring as playing a key role in their careers5.
Postgraduate education can also involve more collaboration with your peers as you support one another. The CA Program provides specific forums for students and teachers to work together towards the students' academic success.
At your own pace
When most people hear the word postgraduate, they think PhD, but the reality is there are a wide variety of postgraduate studies which can help to advance your career.
According to the most recent census, just less than 10% of Australians hold a postgraduate qualification, ranging from advanced diplomas to PhDs and equivalent TAFE qualifications6.
How long you're prepared to study is one of the most important things to consider, as for many the 3-4 years full-time study required for a PhD can be overwhelming or financially imposing.
A graduate certificate (which generally represents only 6 months full-time study) or diploma, can offer a more accessible distinction, while contributing directly towards the credit you need to obtain a master's degree.
Other programs integrate professional experience into the time required, such as the CA Program's three years of mentored industry experience.
If you're not the type to plan too far in advance, consider qualifications with flexible deadlines. While the CA Program can be completed in as few as three years, you can take up to eight, in case life forces you to put your studies on hold for a while.
Expand your horizons
More Australians are pursuing mature-aged education than ever before7 to develop the new skills required to thrive in today's changing workplace and pursue later-life career changes. A renewed focus on later-life education is one of the key factors driving the massive increase in entrepreneurship among Australia's over-50 population8.
In addition to new skills, many postgraduate qualifications are tied into professional bodies with global partnerships, which can empower you to find work across the globe.
Because Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand is a member of the Global Accounting Alliance, the CA qualification is recognised by professional accounting bodies in countries such as America, Canada, Japan and Germany.* In addition to recognition, this entitles Chartered Accountants to receive professional support while working overseas.
Through mutual recognition agreements, there are pathways for qualified Chartered Accountants to become reciprocal members of other GAA accounting bodies, such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).*
Postgraduate qualifications could be your key to success in today's competitive world. The unique skills it provides could also help you to find work you're truly passionate about.
*International opportunities may require additional training in some countries and be subject to country specific visa requirements and other restrictions.
1. https://docs.jobs.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/australianjobs2017.pdf (page 31)
4. The Australian, Top 100 Graduate Employers 2016 + Chartered Accountants ANZ Member Report 2016.