THE INC. LIFE

Why More Adults Want To Go Back to School

Maintaining an edge is imperative in this competitive environment, and interest in further education is rising

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BY Cristina Morales - 03 Jul 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

The business world is a highly competitive space, so much so that many are going back to school to stay relevant and advance their career, according to CareerBuilder Singapore’s JobsCentral Learning Survey 2017.

In this Inc. Southeast Asia article, Oliver Segovia, the founder of Filipino e-commerce company ava.ph, says that pursuing an MBA helped him gain the confidence to start his own company. Pursuing further studies is also a good way to build a network, as demonstrated by Kelvin Teo and Reynold Wiljaya, who met in business school and went on to partner up and found Funding Societies, a peer-to-peer lending start-up.

Networking is just one of the ways education can benefit the adult learner, and as the survey reveals, most understand the benefits of taking up further education to update their skills and knowledge. Out of 4,580 Singaporean respondents, 63% expressed an interest in pursuing further education in 2016—significantly less than the 73% interested respondents in 2015. The top concern was finances, with 33% identifying financial hardship as their main challenge.

In spite of the notable dip in interest, it’s still clear that continued learning is becoming a priority for many. The respondents cited career advancement (72%), self-improvement (65%), and improvement of employability (59%) as the drivers for their desire to go back to school.

CREDIT: CareerBuilder Singapore

“Despite 2016’s economic slowdown, which affects the overall demand for goods, the majority of respondents want to pursue further education,” says Sam Ng, managing director of CareerBuilder Singapore, in a statement. “This could be due to an anticipation of a more competitive local landscape, as employers cut down on employment and adopt a more precise approach to recruitment. Potential employees are therefore keen to enhance their skills and knowledge in order to stand out and stay relevant amidst the fierce competition.”

Most of the respondents said that they would rather pursue a diploma course than take up a postgraduate or bachelor’s degree, and 63% would prefer to go to a local school than going overseas. Business Studies and Management are the most popular areas of study, though understandably, Computer Science and IT courses are gaining popularity.

“Despite 2016’s economic slowdown, which affects the overall demand for goods, the majority of respondents want to pursue further education,” says Sam Ng, managing director of CareerBuilder Singapore, in a statement. “This could be due to an anticipation of a more competitive local landscape, as employers cut down on employment and adopt a more precise approach to recruitment. Potential employees are therefore keen to enhance their skills and knowledge in order to stand out and stay relevant amidst the fierce competition.”

Most of the respondents said that they would rather pursue a diploma course than take up a postgraduate or bachelor’s degree, and 63% would prefer to go to a local school than going overseas. Business Studies and Management are the most popular areas of study, though understandably, Computer Science and IT courses are gaining popularity.

CREDIT: CareerBuilder Singapore

What now?

It’s clear from this survey that employees understand the value in staying sharp and relevant in their respective fields, which is why training opportunities play a significant role in keeping your team happy. If you don’t have the budget to finance further education, explore cost-effective ways to develop your people.

In an Inc. Southeast Asia article about how bosses can keep their best talent, Inflow CEO Mike Belasco says, “You can find some really great professional training opportunities that don’t cost as much as a raise and yet can have a really big impact: in-person classes, online classes, or internal opportunities that we set up. We’d give them the time to do that.”

There really isn’t an excuse to not giving your employees the opportunity to learn and grow. If you want your company to be great, you need to give your team the right tools to be great.

“It’s vital that employees continue to learn,” says Jefferson Flanders, president and CEO of MindEdge, in this Inc. article. “Certainly for those under age 40 with the number of employers and potentially the number of different industries they will work in, the ability to adapt and learn is one of the most important factors in long-term career success.”