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Young Aussies want job changes – are short-term stints the new norm?

By Nick Wilson | |6 minute read

A recent study has revealed the surprising reasons young Australians are more likely to consider career changes.

The study by RMIT Online found that one in four workers under the age of 30 have considered a career change in the past three months.

This trend could play a decisive role in Australia’s economic future as younger generations increasingly populate the workforce.


“As the workforce continues to evolve, it’s clear Gen Z and younger Millennials are redefining their priorities and, as such, their career paths. They are in pursuit of new opportunities – and they are not afraid to change jobs to do so,” said Nic Cola, chief executive at RMIT Online.

Why are so many young Aussies looking for new work?

1. Salary

According to the study, increased salary ranked as the number one motivator behind switching jobs, at 47 per cent.

As far as pay is concerned, job switching is a better way to get a pay rise, Amanda Augustine, a career expert with Resume.io, told Daily Mail Australia.

“Your salary can increase by as much as 20 per cent each time you change jobs, whereas most employees only receive an annual pay rise of 3 to 4 per cent,” Ms Augustine said.

Apart from cost of living, which 53 per cent of respondents said caused them to request a pay rise, 42 per cent did so in response to a positive performance review and 40 per cent in recognition of having taken on additional responsibilities.

Interestingly, while pay might most often cause individuals to look for other work, it is considered less important than other cultural aspects in generating job satisfaction. For young workers, not feeling valued was the main cause of job dissatisfaction, at 60 per cent.

Inadequate pay and a lack of clarity around career progression tied for second place at 55 per cent.

Similarly, in guaranteeing job satisfaction, having great colleagues and feeling valued play the biggest roles, at 60 and 55 per cent, respectively. Receiving an adequate salary ranked in third place at 47 per cent.

The study also found that men are more frequently satisfied with their personal financial security (38 per cent) than women (29 per cent).

2. Opportunity

Upskilling is more than a buzzword. It’s an identifying characteristic of the younger workforce.

As said by Mr Cola: “It’s no surprise remuneration is a primary motivator in today’s economic climate; however, career development and training opportunities are also primary motivators for most Australians.”

Thirty-three per cent of young workers looking for new work were doing so primarily in search of better career development opportunities.

Fifty-six per cent of young respondents to the survey plan on asking their employers for external training or upskilling in the coming months.

“This generation makes up a significant chunk of the workforce, so it’s crucial we empower them to bridge the skills gap and chase their professional ambitions. Doing so would contribute to a more resilient and dynamic workforce of the future,” said Mr Cola.

Remaining competitive in the modern workplace requires a degree of adaptability. Increasingly, Aussies are taking online courses to get ahead, with artificial intelligence (AI), ChatGPT, management, and environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) courses all seeing major surges in enrolments.

This is hardly surprising since 76 per cent of younger workers believe that technology will assist them in their roles at work.

3. Flexibility

Much has been made of the trends toward hybrid work. RMIT Online’s survey adds another reason to believe it might be here to stay.

Not only is flexibility, at 31 per cent, the third-most common cause of younger workers looking for new work, but new working trends, as discussed in the survey, might necessitate these more flexible arrangements.

According to the survey, 26 per cent of respondents under 30 years of age have started a side hustle in the past three months. Perhaps more shocking, 53 per cent plan on starting one in the next three months.

For reference, GoDaddy reported a doubling in the number of young Aussies starting small ventures since last year.

“If businesses don’t properly support, value or engage their employees, they risk losing valuable staff, stifling their own innovation and lagging behind in today’s ever-competitive landscape,” said Mr Cola.


Hybrid working

In a hybrid work environment, individuals are allowed to work from a different location occasionally but are still required to come into the office at least once a week. With the phrase "hybrid workplace," which denotes an office that may accommodate interactions between in-person and remote workers, "hybrid work" can also refer to a physical location.


Training is the process of enhancing a worker's knowledge and abilities to do a certain profession. It aims to enhance trainees' work behaviour and performance on the job.

Nick Wilson

Nick Wilson

Nick Wilson is a journalist with HR Leader. With a background in environmental law and communications consultancy, Nick has a passion for language and fact-driven storytelling.