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How to land a health and safety job in the current climate
WHS. It’s an acronym that many of us see every day, but few pay attention to – but we should. Workplace health and safety protocols remain a big priority for businesses, schools, hospitals and all manner of facilities the length and breadth of Australia, and it’s easy to see why.
Despite the best efforts of trained WHS professionals, workplace accidents, injuries and other preventable incidents continue to occur in workplaces across Australia. Indeed, Safe Work Australia states that one in 25 Aussie employees were injured at work in 2015, according to its annual Key Work Health and Safety Statistics report. These injuries have occurred in all manner of different industries, with varying degrees of severity, which is why demand for WHS professionals remains high. Let’s take a look at how to land that perfect WHS role, wherever you are in Australia.
The realities of the job market
Of course, ever since the global financial crisis hit in 2008, there have been job shortages all across Australia. The workplace health and safety sector is no different, and we understand that it can seem very difficult to get a career in WHS. Perseverance is key, though, and thinking outside the box when looking for employment can also really help. Keep at it and, with a qualification from AlertForce and a positive, can-do attitude, you’ll set yourself on the right path. It’s important to remember that, even in times of job shortages, there will always be a need for skilled, qualified WHS professionals, so don’t let your head drop.
Whether you choose to learn on a face-to-face or online basis, AlertForce have a broad of WHS courses for you to choose from.
The first step: Get qualified
You wouldn’t prepare a sumptuous meal without the requisite ingredients, nor would you attempt to fix a leaking pipe without the proper tools. The same philosophy applies to getting a job in WHS – it pays to be prepared.
This means laying the initial groundwork before you begin the application process, and there’s no better place to begin than with a qualification from AlertForce. Whether you choose to learn on a face-to-face or online basis, AlertForce have a broad of WHS courses for you to choose from. To really put yourself at the front of the queue, though, you should strongly consider enrolling in the Certificate IV in WHS, Diploma in WHS, or the Diploma in Quality Auditing.
Whichever of these certificates you have safely under your belt, you can rest assured it will put your name near the top of the list when you enter the WHS job market. You’ll enjoy the benefits that come with being taught by experienced industry leaders – each of our students are provided with a mentor to guide them through the finer points of their course, so from beginning to end, you’ll always have someone to turn to.
What’s more, AlertForce can proudly boast a 97 per cent completion rate, and we don’t shy away from going the extra mile. As such, our students not only finish their course, they come out of it the other side bursting with WHS knowledge and eager to start their careers.
Workplace accidents occur every day in Australia – which is why demand for OHS professionals is on the rise.
What are my chances of landing a job?
With a qualification from AlertForce safely in the bank, Australia really is your oyster when it comes to career opportunities in WHS. Things may seem a little difficult right now, but data released by the Australian government states that the job market in this industry is set to expand exponentially over the coming decade. That’s right – some 17 per cent more WHS professionals are projected to be employed in Australia in 2018 than there were in 2013, illustrating just how in demand WHS employees are.
Some 17 per cent more WHS professionals are projected to be employed in Australia in 2018 than there were in 2013, illustrating just how in demand WHS employees are.
The same source states that, as of November 2015, approximately 24,000 people were employed in the industry. This means that there are likely to be positions in every state in Australia, across a broad range of fields, so you’ll be able to pick and choose which industry to specialise in. To get a snapshot of the areas in big demand across Australia, as well as how much you can expect to take home, it is a good idea to browse job vacancies sites where you’ll see positions such as:
- OHS Support Officer – AU$60,000.
- Return to work (RTW) Coordinator – $87,500.
- OHS Consultant – $125,000.
- Compliance Manager – $128,000.
- RTW National Manager – $148,000.
Of course, there are a raft of other WHS jobs that you can get your teeth into. What you choose to do is completely up to you.
An alternative way to the top
There are other pathways into the WHS work arena that differ from the traditional routes. For example, you may have your heart set on a career as a senior asbestos removal specialist. Of course, the money at this level is a lot better than it would be for an entry-level position, but to reach the very top, you have to start somewhere – and that’s often a little further down the ladder. After following a course in asbestos removal, you could well land an entry-level job in this field. Stick with it and, with hard work and dedication, advancement and pay rises are only a matter of time away.
There are many jobs with a big link to WHS that require licensing – for example, operating a forklift, or a role in traffic control. Though these might seem very minor industries, they actually represent a golden opportunity to get your foot in the door of the WHS house. By starting here, you’ll gain a wealth of experience and, as companies much prefer to promote internally, you’re in with a far better shot of working your way up.
State of the nation
In a recent article, we talked about how the building boom in New South Wales was causing WHS professionals to be in great demand. This still rings true today, and as the country’s most populous state with the biggest city, it’s where you’ll find the most job opportunities. Our article on the situation can tell you more, but to really put yourself on the fast-track to a rewarding WHS career, NSW is the place to be.
Data released by the Australian government states that the job market in this industry is set to expand exponentially over the coming decade.
Sadly, the same can’t be said of Queensland. The famous mining state is experiencing something of a downturn at present, meaning that cutbacks are having to be made. This means that any new vacancies are hotly contested, lowering your chances of landing a role. Of course, the mining industry is one that is always going to need WHS professionals, and should it recover, there’s every chance that there will be a big call for such workers in the future.
How can you improve your chances in the current climate?
After the financial crisis of 2008 unemployment rose across Australia, very few industries were unaffected. Even so, the market has been steadily recovering, with the unemployment rate standing at 5.6 per cent as of August 2016, according to Trading Economics. This is the lowest jobless rate since 2013, so things are certainly starting to look up. Though the green shoots of recovery are now apparent, giving yourself the best opportunity of finding work in the current climate is still an absolute priority.
This could mean meticulously tailoring your CV and cover letter for each specific job – there are few things that an employer finds more off-putting than a a blanket application that has obviously been used elsewhere. Additionally, showing your potential employer that you’re serious about your application will also go a very long way in what can be a competitive, selective atmosphere. Unpaid voluntary work in your chosen field, researching your employer and making use of AlertForce’s wealth of industry contacts will all stand you in excellent stead when you submit that application – as will attitude and a keen eye for that hidden gem of a job opportunity.
How to boost your earning potential
We’ve already talked about how having a nationally recognised qualification on your CV can vastly improve your chances of finding employment in the health and safety sector, but did you know that holding formal qualifications can also mean you’ll have more earning power than someone non-certified? To illustrate this, payments analysts PayScale found that safety officers who lacked formal qualifications were rarely paid more than $100,000, but those with the relevant certificates had earning potential of up to $150,000 – that’s a difference not to be sniffed at!
Be sure to get in touch with our friendly, knowledgeable team to get your WHS career off to a flying start!
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