To study or not to study, is a difficult question - GulfToday

To study or not to study, is a difficult question

Birjees Hussain

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

She has more than 10 years of experience in writing articles on a range of topics including health, beauty, lifestyle, finance, management and Quality Management.

Job seekers

A job applicant gets a thumbs-up from a recruiter at the King Soopers grocery store table in Denver, Colorado. Reuters

Let’s face it, when a recession hits, or the economy starts to see a decline, some job sectors seem to be more immune than others.

When I worked for the Copyright Licensing Agency in London in the early 90s, a recession had just hit the country. But whereas many companies were having to let people go, the CLA was actually doing the opposite. Business was growing because the UK law on Intellectual Property was being enforced by us, and by companies like us. As a result more staff were being taken on to cope with the extra workload from issuing and managing more licensees. In our case, regardless of how the economy was doing, multiple photocopying was still illegal for businesses, educational establishments and the public services. Lack of compliance to the law and our request to issue them licences, meant legal penalties.

But I believe we were a unique case. The exception, not the rule and there were only a handful of agencies like us. Or at least at the time.

Recently Australia released a list of jobs that are most in demand Down Under. It listed jobs that seem to stand the test of economic strains in Australia.

Judging from what we see around us, all of us might not agree with their listing. According to them roles such as cashiers at checkouts, advertising, public relations and primary schoolteachers are on the rise. At the other end of the spectrum, however, jobs like sales assistants, Chief Executives, Managing Directors and retail supervisors are on the decline. But the latter list also goes on to include a decline in the need for General Managers, call centre managers and customer service managers too.

I do think, though, that Australia is not representative of what we find all over the world. Some areas might ring true but not all. I say this because the rise in checkout cashiers, in spite of automated checkouts, seems to belie what I’ve seen around us. For example, when I was in London a couple of years ago, some shops had fully automated checkouts and there wasn’t a single staff member in sight. It made sense. If a machine was doing the job of a human, why would a human be there?

The others do make sense, all over the world in fact. No matter how bad the economy, you still need accountants and number crunchers. Moreover, with the constant use of smartphones for most transactions, we are increasingly being urged by shops across the world to download their Apps. And herein lies the rise of App developers.

Moreover, with everyone trying to live a holistic lifestyle, people seem to want work-based day-care for their children while they are at work. They need and want a holistic approach to their health choices too and opt for a range of beauty and physical therapy treatments.

The Australian list came at a rather opportune moment as school exam results were released in mid-August and young adults were trying to decide what to do with their life and career.

So the question that is now being put out there is, should young adults weigh up the pros and cons of a university education against going straight into the workplace?  The argument is that, whereas the former gives you an education that no one can take away from you, the latter gives you the chance to embark on a process of life-long learning. The rational is that, because a work environment is organic and thus constantly changing with the times and new technology, a person gets the chance to get in there early and start learning and adapting as soon as possible.

From my personal experience, and in no way does it represent an entire work environment, when things get tough, there are most certainly some sectors of a business that go on the backburner, or companies that try to optimise their operations by changing their work methodologies. From personal experience, Quality Assurance and HSE going on the backburner is one example. Furthermore, outsourcing certain roles to save on healthcare and life insurance benefits is another, and quite prevalent.

For what it’s worth, there is one word of advice I would like to impart. Rather than weighing up the pros and cons of studying and working, why not do both? Many have done it and succeeded in both. Why give up the chance of being educated?

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