The world of work has never been more changeable. Digitisation coupled with a culture of continual innovation means that no one can afford to stand still. We live in a time when lifelong learning is not only valuable but essential to remaining relevant. So, should all professionals and leaders be heading back to school? From professional qualifications to traditional degree programmes, there are a huge range of options for those who want to expand their knowledge. In fact, our own founder and MD, John Austin, has recently graduated with an MBA (Masters of Business Administration). We’re incredibly proud of John, who has been working hard for 3 years to gain this prestigious qualification while still achieving amazing things at HN. What better excuse to look at the benefits of higher education for everyone?
It will boost your marketability and earning potential
If you’re considering cold-hard career potential, continued or higher learning looks great on your CV. Whether you’re negotiating a pay rise or looking to stand out from the crowd when you go for a dream role, further qualifications can be a key differentiator. That doesn’t mean that you should pursue a qualification for its own sake, it has to tie into your career goals. John recommends that anyone considering further learning should think about it carefully, saying, “Research what you are studying and ensure it will help you achieve your objectives. It is hard work, time consuming and sacrifices need to be made. However, if at the end of it you can see it has made a difference then it is worthwhile.”
It will give you a new perspective
It’s easy, when you are doing the same thing day in day out, to start looking at things from a narrow point of view. To get caught up in your own perspective or that of your organisation. Further learning can drive self-reflection. Encouraging you to examine key parts of your role in a new light. This, in turn, diversifies the viewpoints within your business, making it stronger and more creative. John shared his thoughts on learning after being in the recruitment business for more than 2 decades:
“I have worked in recruitment for 20 plus years and received no formal management or strategic training. Being armed with the frameworks, theories, and concepts to be able to successfully implement relevant and necessary changes has been a key learning. The feeling of progressing and developing myself has been fantastic. The ability to understand your business landscape and the macro and micro influences has been interesting. Learning leadership theory coupled with self-reflection has been hard but worthwhile.”
It creates opportunities
A professional learning environment is a great way to not only expand what you know but who you know. It can drive connections with other professionals both within your industry and across other sectors. This can lead to collaborations and opportunities. Never underestimate the benefits of developing your network.
It helps you to stay relevant
Across every industry, digitisation and tech advances are transforming the way work gets done. Expanding the boundaries of what’s possible. Professional qualifications and further education can help you to stay curious and to understand the changes that are shaping the market you operate in. If you stop moving forward, stop pushing to learn what's next, it’s easy to be left behind.
It drives innovation
Expanding your knowledge doesn’t just make you better at what you do. It could help you to successfully mould the future of your business. Learning opens our mind to possibility, and that sense of possibility doesn’t stop once you’ve successfully achieved your certification or passed your final exam. By pursuing learning and encouraging your team to do the same, you can cultivate an innovative mindset across your organisation.
Pursuing further education is an amazing way to boost your career and drive personal and professional development. However, it’s not an easy option. It requires a strong sense of motivation and an ability to juggle conflicting priorities. John describes the struggle to balance his studies with business and family, below:
“Studying for me involved lots of weekend working, very early mornings in the office and the odd day off. I was fortunate that I have such a great team so I could focus on my studies when required. It requires sacrifice for sure. To be able to balance running a business, studying and having a family required me to reduce my time with friends, and at times with family. You literally carve time out of your existing life.”
All those early mornings were worth it! Congratulations John on your hard-earned achievement!