Categories
Programs

Study Online with Flexible University Courses

If you want flexible study, Australia’s online universities have some great options for you. As well as the ability to avoid travelling completely, you can study exactly when it suits you. Flexible online learning allows for year-round study and adjustable weekly schedules.

Unit by Unit, Not Semester Blocks

Flexibility

Flexible study is made possible by a new sequential learning model. Unit-by-unit study is transforming the university experience for online learners, especially for postgraduate students who are balancing study with work.

In the past, online courses followed the traditional on-campus calendar. Students would take up to 4 units at a time in semester blocks lasting 4+ months. That meant juggling multiple subjects and being hit with intense end-of-semester exam stress.

Far greater flexibility is now offered through unit-by-unit study. Online universities are breaking up the academic calendar into 6 study periods of 2 months. Online learners move through their programs sequentially, completing 1 or 2 units every 2 months.

Unit-by-unit online study allows new students to start a program any time of year. The next study period is never more than a couple of months away. Contrast that with traditional degrees, which have one, or maybe two, start times each year.

Unit-by-unit online study also allows you to adjust your study load according to what is happening in the rest of your life. You can take a break for just two months if you want instead of any stop having to go for several months until the next semester begins.

An Adjustable Weekly Schedule

Weekly study schedule

Much of the flexibility of online study comes from the ability to time when you view lectures or work on assignments. Your weekly schedule can be adjusted so that most or all of your learning happens only when convenient.

Online instructors and course designers aren’t stupid. They know that people enroll in their courses because of the convenience of studying online. So, instructors present materials and structure programs to maximise the flexibility factor. Course materials are available to students at all times.

This flexibility even applies to group projects. You have the option to talk on the phone or videoconference with classmates at a mutually convenient time. But emails and messages also work well to keep in touch.

Flexible Online STEM Degrees

Group of postgraduate students

STEM skills can take you anywhere – and now you can gain those skills anywhere, too, with Open Universities Australia’s flexible degrees.

By Brett Szmajda

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that just 18% of the workforce is skilled in science, technology, engineering and maths. But STEM expertise can open doors across a range of industries – as it has for Brenda Frisk.

After completing separate Bachelor degrees in Human Ecology and Education at the University of Manitoba, Canada, and a Master of Arts in Communications Technology with the University of Alberta, she forged a career building business solutions with technology at their core.

“Understand what’s important to people and you’ll create experiences they enjoy and technology that they’re going to use,” says Brenda.

Her most memorable career moments include creating an award-winning multimedia program; pitching 3D business solutions to a global aviation manufacturer while touring its enormous US campus, and working in rural Victoria to optimise a multimillion dollar water utility project designing a mobile application, which won an international award. “Each project brings a very different and exciting experience, which is part of what’s wonderful about working in STEM,“ she explains.

Now the Head of Learning Technology at Open Universities Australia (OUA), Brenda is an advocate for flexible degrees that fit a busy modern lifestyle. Providing the best flexible degrees remotely often requires ‘thinking differently’, she says. For example, rendering 3D models once required a supercomputer, but now students can gain this experience at home using cloud-based computing services on a tablet.

Bianca Braun, who studied a Master of Science in applied statistics through OUA, says being able to study whenever and wherever she wanted was key to finishing her degree. “There’s no way I would have been able to do this otherwise,” she says.

Data from OUA suggests flexible degrees have been particularly enabling for women interested in STEM. In the past three years, OUA has seen a 26% growth in females studying STEM courses, compared with a 16% growth in male numbers.

Like Brenda, Bianca wants to apply her STEM skills in a range of industries. “Every organisation has data,” she says. “My job is to tell the story behind the data.”

A STEM degree equips you with the tools to create solutions across a variety of disciplines. Brenda offers this advice: consider a problem in the world you would like to fix, then use your STEM skills to tackle it.

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Careers

STEM Careers List for Australia: Future Jobs

Australia’s STEM workforce is projected to grow by 2.5% per year to number more than 1.9 million workers in 2024. The makeup of the following STEM careers list may surprise you. Among the biggest fields are the use of mathematics in business and of science by healthcare professionals.

We broke down Australia’s employment projections to find out where science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills are actually in demand. Here are the top occupational fields where STEM knowledge and abilities are essential for getting the work done.

1. ICT Professionals, Including Data Analysts

IT professional

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professionals are projected to soon become Australia’s largest group of STEM workers. Future employment is projected to swell to 376,000 in 2024 (19.4% of STEM jobs), up from 313,000 in 2019.

The ever-expanding role of information technology, including the harnessing of big data, explains growing demand for ICT professionals. Career opportunities are strongest in the areas of software and application programming, systems administration and security, computer network management, and business and systems analysis.

ICT professionals usually have a bachelor degree in information technology or computer science. Many specialised bachelor and masters are available to help you break into the field. The industry also places a premium on job-relevant knowledge demonstrated or learned through recent projects.

2. Business Professionals Who Use Mathematics

Counting money

Around one in five STEM workers (slightly reducing to an estimated 19.5% in 2024) are business professionals. They rely on mathematics for activities such as accounting, financial analysis, auditing, statistical analysis and economic modelling.

Typically, these number crunchers hold a business degree with a major in a field such as accounting, finance, statistics or economics. They may also hold a science degree with a mathematics or statistics major.

3. Health Professionals, Including Physicians

Medical imaging

Health professionals make up the third largest STEM occupational group, projected to account for 17.1% of jobs by 2024. Here, we are counting most health professionals but not nurses and midwives (in which case the group would more than double in size and be easily the largest).

  • Nursing and midwifery accounts for the bulk of jobs for health professionals.
  • Like other health professions, science knowledge is required to train as a nurse and science is taught in nursing school.
  • But people are divided on the issue of whether nursing is a STEM discipline, partly because of the many care-giving roles with few or no science connections.

Among health professionals, the biggest “STEM” occupational groups are physiotherapists, general practitioners, occupational therapists, and audiologists and speech pathologists. One study found that 9 out of 10 doctors consider science education valuable to their clinical practice.

4. Engineers: Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, etc

Engineering professions

Engineering is the fourth biggest category of STEM occupations in Australia. Professional engineers account for an estimated 9.1% of the STEM workforce, a share expected to stay about the same into the future.

You become a fully qualified engineer by completing a 4-year professional degree at an Australian university. The largest disciplines within engineering are Civil (3.5% of STEM jobs), followed by Industrial, Mechanical and Production (1.5%), Electrical (0.9%) and Mining (0.6%).

5. Technicians for Architecture, Building and Surveying

Technician building plan

STEM skills are in high demand for translating design ideas and plans into actual construction work. Architecture, building and surveying technicians carry out technical functions to help construction site managers, architects and surveyors.

These professionals supervise and inspect construction sites; estimate time, cost and resource requirements; inspect plumbing or electrical work; collect survey data; and prepare maps and plans. Job numbers are projected to grow to around 165,000 in 2024.

Depending on the individual occupation, a university degree may be expected to work as a technician. Generally, though, a vocational education and training (VET) advanced certificate or diploma is the standard qualification.

6. Designers, Architects, Planners and Surveyors

Web and app designer

The sixth biggest STEM occupational group is often at the intersection of technology and art. Accounting for just over 7% of STEM jobs is a careers category that includes web designers, graphic artists, architects, urban and regional planners, and surveyors and spatial scientists.

A university degree is essential for many of these fields, though less so in the information technology space. Ultimately, however, career success tends to rely on creative and business talents that are difficult to measure in an academic setting.

7. Scientists, Including Medical and Environmental Science Professionals

Environmental scientist

STEM starts with “Science” but actual scientists make up only around 6% of the jobs. In the Natural and Physical Science Professionals category, the largest occupational groups are medical laboratory scientists, environmental scientists, geologists and agricultural scientists.

The workforce of scientists, which is projected to grow to a future level of 117,000 in 2024, is limited in part by the skills and qualifications required. A PhD in your scientific field is the norm if you want to have a successful career in research or applied science.

Other Notable STEM Career Fields

We’ve covered the seven major occupational groups in terms of STEM jobs. Other ones include:

  • Specialist Managers in ICT, Engineering and Research and Development (4.2% of STEM employment in 2024)
  • ICT Support Technicians (3.8%)
  • Medical Technicians (1.9%)
  • Tertiary Education Teachers (1.6%).
Categories
Programs

Online MBA Programs in Australia

A Master of Business (MBA) degree is the most popular postgraduate program in Australia and internationally. And studying online is fast becoming the preferred way to earn this management masters. Here is a guide to online MBA programs in Australia.

Online MBAs are Popular in Australia

Online MBA programs in Australia are as popular as ever and seem to be overtaking the traditional classroom model. According to official enrollment statistics, more Australians study for an MBA online than exclusively attend a campus.

  • An estimated 20,333 Australians studied postgraduate Management and Commerce in 2018 (Extracted from uCube, 23 February 2020).
  • By comparison, 18,533 postgraduate business students were classified as “internal” (or on-campus).
  • Another 3,380 postgraduate business students were in the “mixed-mode” category.

Why are online MBA’s so popular? In short, because they are convenient. You can study anytime from anywhere.

Unsurprisingly, most online MBA students in Australia are working professionals or other busy people who don’t have time to waste. They see the tremendous career advantages of an MBA qualification as worth the challenge of fitting study into their weekly schedule.

Australia’s Best Online MBA Degrees

Modern, flexible and affordable and three of the key qualities that define Australia’s best online MBA programs. That’s according to Online Study Australia, which has ranked the top 3 MBA programs.

Among the best online MBA degrees are the Master of Business Administration (Global) from James Cook University. The program has 3 concentrations: organisational leadership, global perspective and strategy, and data management and analytics.

Also making Online Study Australia’s list is Innovation and Leadership MBA from Ducere Global Business School. Learning is based on doing real online projects in small teams. And the traditional long exam is dispensed with in favour of projects, assignments and quizzes.

Rounding out the top 3 list is the University of Adelaide’s online MBA. As with some other top online MBAs, the program is completed by doing a sequence of units. Students focus on 1 or 2 units at a time, each completed within a series of study blocks of several weeks in length.

Advice for Taking Online MBA Classes

Online MBA classes are difficult, and the culture of online learning differs from the traditional campus programs that most students are used to. Students often find that they have to redefine the way they learn and build new study skills.

Academic advisers normally caution students against underestimating the difficulties of online learning. An online MBA is not any easier or somehow has a smaller workload than other kinds of MBA programs. And students need to be prepared to do the bulk of their learning on their own.

Find out what other online MBA students think

Planning how you will manage online learning is usually preferable to jumping into it nonchalantly. Talking to other online MBA students to find out more about their experiences is a good place to start, and will help you determine if online learning is really the way to go.

For example, online MBA students have reported that “virtual teaming” can be highly beneficial to the learning experience (Kim, Liu and Bonk). Choosing a program that offers this can, therefore, increase your chances of making it to the end.

Develop study strategies

Having strategies to address any academic problems before they arise is a good idea. For example, participating in study groups or online chat sessions with instructors and other students is a good way to guard against apathy.

Sticking to a regular study schedule can also be invaluable to maintaining consistent effort. Even if the university does not require it, this kind of professionalism helps ensures you are able to get your work done on time and achieve learning goals.

Start with a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration

For most MBA programs, you can start by studying for a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration. In Australia, this is a 4-unit courses that typically represents a third of the full MBA program. Entry requirements are lower and you can often be admitted even if you lack a university degree (but have professional experience).

The advantage of doing a Grad Cert is that you can test if an online MBA program is really for you. If it’s not, you can leave after 4 units with new skills and a recognised qualification.

Categories
Recruitment

Top 20 STEM Employers

Let’s look at Australia’s biggest employers of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) graduates. If you’ve recently earned a STEM degree, your qualification might help to get a job at one of these companies or government organisations.

1. CSIRO

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is the largest government employer of STEM graduates. The agency is the main organisation responsible for scientific and technological advancement on behalf of the federal government.

All job opportunities are listed at the dedicated jobs page, from graduate research positions through to management and support roles. Studentships and postgraduate scholarship opportunities are also available. The job page boasts of career opportunities for research scientists, engineers and science technicians.

2. University of Melbourne

Alan Gilbert Building, University of Melbourne
Alan Gilbert Building

The University of Melbourne is often at the top of Australian university rankings, including in STEM fields. The research-intensive institution has many job openings for postdoctoral graduates and other early-career researchers.

The current opportunities page always has plenty of STEM jobs to apply for. Job examples: research assistant in neuroepidemiology, research fellow in evolutionary ecology, research fellow in waterland or wetland research, and research fellow in neuroengineering.

3. Lendlease

4. Atlassian

5. University of Queensland

University of Queensland

The University of Queensland is the hub of academic research activity in Brisbane. As a research university, UQ easily ranks among the top 100 in the world.

Job opportunities are regularly posted on UQ’s jobs site. Examples of STEM job openings include: Research Fellow (Measurement in Digital Hospital Transformation), Research Fellow (Biostatistician), Postdoctoral Research Fellow – Environmental Analytical Chemistry, and Research Fellow (Autonomous Military Systems).

6. Woolworths

Woolworths Supermarket Ipswich
Woolworths Supermarket Ipswich

Woolworths is Australia’s largest employer, with more than 200,000 Australian workers. Opportunities for STEM graduates are strongest in the fields of information technology and business analytics.

Woolworths always has a large selection of job vacancies. A Sydney-based graduate program is also open each year and includes an information technology stream.

7. Computershare

8. UNSW

UNSW John Niland Scientia Building
Scientia Building

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) is another large, research-intensive university that is ranked among the world’s top 100. The Sydney-based employer has job openings for STEM graduates advertised year-round.

Example positions available: Post-Doctoral Fellow – Cellular Immunology, Research Associate – Condensed Matter Physics, Postdoctoral Fellow – Mathematical modelling, Educational Data Analyst, Research Associate – Astrophysics.

9. Deloitte Australia

10. Commonwealth Bank

Commonwealth Bank branch

Australia is home to some of the largest and strongest banks in the world and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia is the biggest of them. With close to 50,000 employees, plenty of job opportunities are available for technology and maths specialists.

CBA’s graduate and internship programs — here — are based in Sydney and has business areas that include analytics, digital, and technology (enterprise service). Diverse career opportunities exist in disciplines such as data science, programming, cyber security and software engineering.

11. Monash University

Monash University

Monash University is Australia’s largest university in terms of student numbers, with more than 80,000 enrolled students. The Melbourne-based institution has a strong research profile, especially in the sciences. Monash reports to be ranked among the world’s top 100 in chemistry, biological sciences, mathematics, physics and astronomy.

STEM graduates can find job opportunities in research as well as in roles to do with managing the large organisation and its student body. Academic job examples include Research Fellow – Exertion Games, Research Fellow in Scientific Computing and Numerical Analysis, Research Fellow – Klebsiella pneumoniae genomics and metabolic modelling, and Research Fellow – Membrane Protein Biochemistry and Structure.

12. PwC Australia

PwC Sydney Australia
Sydney city centre location

13. Coles Group

14. NAB

NAB Tenterfield Branch
NAB Tenterfield Branch

NAB — National Australian Bank — is one of Australia’s big banks and considers itself “Australia’s largest business bank”. The company employs more than 30,000 people.

As a business-orientated bank, NAB offers plenty of career opportunities in technology and business analysis fields. The graduate program includes the streams “data analysis” and “technology and digital”.

15. Westpac Group

Westpac ATM
Westpac ATM

Numbers-orientated careers are available with the Westpac Group, which includes the Westpac, St George, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA, BT and RAMS brands. The corporation provides banking, finance and wealth management services for individual customers and businesses.

Job opportunities are available for graduates skilled in finance and risk analysis; “technologists” such as system engineers, tech leads and designers; and analysts and data scientists. Job seekers have several career streams to choose from.

16. BHP

BHP drill rig
BHP drill rig

17. IBM Australia

IBM Australia

18. Australian National University

ANU Computer Science and Information Technology Building
ANU Computer Science and Information Technology Building

The Australian National University, which is based in Canberra, is renowned for its research. ANU routinely makes lists for the top 100 universities in the world, rankings that are based on research reputation.

STEM careers can be forged in the many research institutes at the university, including the academic schools that combine research with teaching. Job examples: Postdoctoral Fellow – Eccles Institute of Neuroscience, Postdoctoral Fellow – Mathematics, Postdoctoral Fellow – New catalysts for hydrogen fuel storage.

19. ADE Consulting Group

ADE environmental testing
ADE environmental testing

Environmental and related services are essential to the activities of big business. A leading Australian employer in this growing field is ADE Consulting Group, with services that include environmental assessments, waste classification, and geotechnical services and engineering.

ADE has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Newcastle. The company employs over 100 environmental consultants, occupational hygienists, geotechnical engineers and laboratory technicians. Job opportunities are shown here.

20. Quantium

Quantium connections

For mathematics graduates, Quantium is one of Australia’s top employers. The big data company specialises in data science and artificial intelligence. Australian offices are housed in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra.

Quantium employs actuaries, statisticians, data scientists, software engineers and futurists among others. University graduate programs and summer internships are available. See the careers page for details.

21. Worley

Worley engineers
Worley industrial staff

Worley is a global engineering company with a large workforce of engineers and related professionals. The business’s activities span energy, chemicals and resources industries.

Australian job opportunities with Worley are mainly available through the Perth and Brisbane offices. Job examples: mechanical engineer, electrical engineer and control systems engineer.

Categories
Skills

Top 10 Employability Skills You Must Have

Different jobs will ask you to meet different criteria for employment. You can only apply to certain positions if you have a specific degree; you can only fill an open management position if you have vast experience on your resume — but there’s a particular skill set that is in high demand throughout the job market.

Employability skills are the common thread bringing most job requirements closer to each other. These skills are easily transferable from one job to another, as they are not about your job specifically — but rather, about how you can use your knowledge, convey ideas, and face difficult situations.

Employees face a dynamic job market, one where they will have to prove themselves as reliable and competitive. With these 10 employability skills you will increase your value as a worker, no matter what your area of expertise is.

1. Out-Of-The-Box Thinking

Everyone can come up with a solution born out of old college books. Employers are looking for people with the “it” factor – that is, someone who can be creative on the spot and offer solutions no other worker can give. We live in a highly-competitive market, and the only way to make a difference is to think differently.

2. Proactiveness

You not only have to think differently, but you have to take the initiative to do so. As long as you are ahead of the race, you have plenty of time to be different than the rest.

That’s what proactiveness is all about: taking the initiative and solving issues before everyone else knows they are happening. You have to neutralize the fire before anyone else smells smoke.

3. Decisiveness

The perfect employee trifecta is made out of creativity, initiative, and decisiveness – this last one is key to making the other two work. You have to be sure of what you have to offer. Doubting yourself will make you sell yourself and your skills short.

You have to be able to come up with a new solution, put it into action, and not second guess yourself. The minute you doubt, someone else takes the opportunity – and you are left with nothing.

4. Solution Mindset

Your employer is going to hire you to solve problems. Issues arise every working day, and you have to be ready to attack them head-on. What you don’t have to do is dwell on them. Your entire focus should be on the solution, not the problem.

5. Teamwork

Even the best employee will have to work along with other co-workers. The best workplace environment is a harmonious work environment – and it can only be obtained with people who can and will work with each other, whether they agree on things or not.

Lone wolves only work in the movies. In real-life, they can create a toxic workplace. If you cannot handle different people and ideas, you will be soon left out of a job.

6. Negotiation Mentality

Sometimes teamwork isn’t enough. Sometimes you will have to compromise – or make someone else compromise. That’s where negotiation skills come in handy. You will have to think about how to fix possible issues between the workforce. That’s what employers are looking for, people who can keep the peace in ever-growing work environments.

7. Communication

Communication comes hand-in-hand with negotiation skills and teamwork – there’s no way to have these two without proper communication. And communication skills will get you far, both with your co-workers and your superiors.

This is probably the most important skill in this whole list. You might have the best ideas and the fastest solutions, but they are worthless if you can’t convey them properly.

8. Leadership

You cannot let your leadership skills show right away, you first have to earn your spot in the company first. You must show your willingness to take control of the situation and command people when it is deemed appropriate.

Leadership skills can get you the job and future promotions as well.

9. Persuasiveness

This is similar to both communication and negotiation skills. In fact, it’s a mixture of both. You have to be able to convince people of your ideas. Because, sometimes, having a good idea isn’t good enough – you will have to convince others of it.

10. An Open Mind

This is an absolute must. No matter how good you are, you have to be able to learn and adapt, no matter how different and eccentric the idea you are facing is.

Those who cannot adapt cannot thrive – those who cannot thrive are soon out of a job.

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Programs

PhD Student Lifestyle Experience

I’ve got to admit that the lifestyle of a PhD student can be great. If you enjoy quiet, leisurely days of reading, researching and writing, the doctoral experience can bring joy, inner peace and a general feeling of calmness.

But there’s most to it than that and, if you don’t stay focused, you can easily waste a year, or two or three of your life. PhD success is about balancing the fun side of learning with the task at hand: writing your defensible thesis.

The PhD Lifestyle Begins

Welcome back to the world of academia. You have successfully gone through all the hurdles to get started on the journey of becoming a Doctor of Philosophy.

You have chosen your area of study, applied to a PhD position, chosen a supervisor, outlined your thesis and hopefully have a scholarship or other form of financial aid. You might be wondering “Now that I’m in, what’s the lifestyle as a PhD student?”

Pleasure (and Some Reality)

In what often turns out to be fiction, PhD students are depicted as free souls exploring the world. They are frequently seen lounging around beautiful university spaces, reading books with interesting titles. They look completely relaxed, fully enjoying the life of commitment to knowledge.

“I no longer believe in this romantic ideal of scholarly life”, Charlie Pullen, an English PhD student, reports: “the reality of doing a PhD is not one of living in a care-free bubble. It is, in fact, a demanding way of spending your time.”

Charlie is right. PhD supervisors usually aim for the degree to be completed in three to four years. To make this happen, students report working from 35 to 70 hours weekly. Depending on the field of study, here’s what you can expect:

  • Working on your own project (thesis), which can determine where and at what times you work;
  • Organize meetings, send reports, ask for feedback and clear doubts with your PhD supervisor so he or she can keep up with your progress;
  • Networking: going to conferences, workshops, and events to absorb as much relevant knowledge as possible;
  • Documenting your work: you have to keep track of your research and every step you took while working on your project;
  • Teach classes, grade papers from undergraduate students and take other responsibilities related to the university;

Although it looks like a lot, it is possible to achieve academia-life balance, even while working part-time or full-time to cover some of the costs. You are able to discuss your workload with your supervisor, and find a good plan and schedule to get things done.

Your Own Pace

The responsibility of successfully completing the degree lies with the student. As a result, the expectations set can be too unforgiving.

We would like to be in the library from 8 am to 5 pm every day, working on the thesis at all times, publish research papers (and maybe even a book!), earn teaching awards, organize and speak in conferences and be on good terms with all the revered members of the university community. This can lead to a very stressful life.

Jenny Mak, an English and Comparative Literary Studies PhD student tells us that “achieving these goals isn’t ‘Mission Impossible’, but the timeframe within which we’re assumed to get them done is unrealistic and places much undue stress on us.”

A great part of completing a PhD successfully is recognizing this issue and taking things step by step. It is necessary to plan what is going to be done when, and managing the daily stress, as the duties will always pile up and seem to take a long time to get done.

Tips for Succeeding with Your Learning Experience

Nuclear scientist Floriana Salvemini shares her top tips for PhD students.

1. Time management is incredibly important! Check if your university offers courses or guides on how to organise a PhD project.

2. Conferences are a great venue to network, learn about developments in your field and promote your research – plus they offer a chance to travel somewhere different.

3. Don’t forget to make professional and personal connections. Remember, a PhD isn’t just about the actual project. The various people you meet along the way are equally as significant.

Final Thoughts on PhD Studies

Working towards a PhD, despite being very challenging and involving a lot of hard work, is a very rewarding experience. It is the path of mastery towards a specific topic of study, which will not only increase your knowledge but might also open up more fulfilling career opportunities.

Don’t be discouraged by the negatives! Most scholars find that the advantages greatly outweigh the challenges.

Categories
Recruitment

Job Screening Tests Guide

Recruiters are using challenges, games and other types of tests to screen job candidates. If you are running an employee hiring process or are a job candidate yourself, here’s what you need to know about employment screening tests.

About Employment Screening Tests

How well any candidate might adapt to your organisational needs can easily be shown with the aid of certain games and tests. A multitude of challenges are available that can measure the aptitude, reasoning ability, logical capacity and psychology of prospective employees.

A well-designed pre-employment screening test is the most efficient tool available to determine the capacity of candidates to meet specific job requirements.

Nikoletta Bika, HR Researcher

Screening tests are designed to help organisations evaluate the job-related abilities of prospective recruits. Ultimately, they can help predict whether a potential hire will be successful in the job.

Some tests are more accurate than others. All tests you choose in the recruitment process must be selected and managed to ensure they are truly effective. They should not, for example, be designed in a manner that involves any implicit or explicit discrimination based on age gender, race, religion, sexual preference, nationality or disability.

As with any test, the results are not always perfect. Screening processes when designed correctly can help shed light on the suitability of a candidate. Equally, a poor test can skew results and hurt your chances of selecting the best candidates.

Here is a guide to the most common types of screening tests used in recruitment.

1. Job Knowledge Tests

A job knowledge test is designed to measure a candidate’s theoretical and technical expertise in a specific field. For example, an accountant might be asked to sit a test related to the basic principles of accounts receivable.

These tests are best used when organizations need to recruit candidates with a specific set of skills or a high level of expertise or knowledge. As a recruiter, you should use a knowledge test if every candidate should reasonably be expected to know certain facts before they start work.

2. Integrity Assessment

The history of pre-employment screening started with integrity tests. These can help organizations to weed out potentially undisciplined, unreliable or dishonest people.

  • An overt integrity test will ask questions specific to ethics and integrity.
  • A covert game will assess specific personality traits that are connected to high or low levels of integrity, such as conscientiousness.

A well-constructed integrity screening test can prove to be a good indicator of future job performance. They have also proven to have a less implicit bias since few differences can be seen between people of different ages or races.

3. Cognitive Ability

Cognitive tests are designed to evaluate a candidate’s overall mental capacity. For recent graduates especially, a test can be a useful supplementary indicator of the person’s potential to perform on the job.

Mental reasoning tests are a more objective indicator of future job performance than an interview or even previous experience. The most common of these tests is the GAP or General Aptitude test, which tests numerical, verbal and logical reasoning.

4. Personality Tests

Personality and psychometric assessments offer insight into whether a certain candidate will fit the existing culture of a business. Have they got the traits that are needed to perform in the roles they will be offered? For example, to be a successful salesperson, you should score highly in assertiveness and extroversion.

How participants responds in games, scenarios and role-playing can be more insightful indicators of personality than self-assessment surveys. Self-assessment tests can be faked whereas responses to unexpected situations are often more natural.

5. Emotional Intelligence (EI) Tests

An EI screening test will show how well a candidate understands their emotions and those of others. EI assessment could indicate how the well the applicant builds strong working relationships.

EI tests are favoured in industries that rely upon their employees showing leadership skills, having frequent interactions with others, and having to build strong interpersonal relationships.

6. Skills Assessment

Skills test are not focused on personality or knowledge. They are designed to measure a candidate’s aptitude in either a soft or hard skill or a combination of skills.

When designed correctly, a skills assessment is able to reliably quantify the specific skills of potential candidates. Examples of these types of assessment are typing speed tests, coding or spreadsheet exercises, and reading and writing tests to just to name a few.

What Roles Do Screening Tests Play in Recruitment?

Quizzes, challenges, games and other tests offer extra information to recruiters that potentially improves recruitment outcomes.

  • They help eliminate unsuitable or incompetent candidates.
  • Mental, analytical and psychological capabilities of candidates are identified.
  • They can be used to assess the position of a candidate in the overall career development.
  • In some cases, when you have a series of qualified candidates, screening tests can be used to do an objective comparison between them.

Several or more candidates may meet a certain set of criteria. When this happens, a stellar screening test can help recruiters in their final hiring decision. Remember, for this process to be accurate, you should always choose a series of tests that can reliably work for the particular recruitment campaign.

Categories
Skills

6 Tips to Speed Read Faster

Do you know how to read faster? Better still, CAN you read faster? Reading is one skill that people around the world take for granted. As parents, we’re more concerned about teaching our kids to read, but hardly bother about the speed of reading.

Your Potential to Be a Speed Reader

In this age of information overload, we cannot ignore speed reading. In fact, we cannot do without this skill.

There is so much to read in a day — the morning newspaper, emails — both important and otherwise. And don’t forget office reports, publications, books for those who love to read, magazines, study material for those who have enrolled in courses, reading the moving television headlines or movie casting, and lots more. You cannot think of assimilating all this stuff without a good speed in reading.

Contrary to popular belief, reading textbooks and several feet high study material during your school days doesn’t necessarily make you a fast reader. There are people who have reached the zenith of education, yet take their sweet time in finishing just one page. It’d help them immensely to know tips on how to read faster, so that they can utilize their time better.

Moreover, reading fast doesn’t mean you simply scan the words without comprehending them. A good reader reads efficiently while absorbing and processing whatever is written.

6 Easy Tips on How to Read Faster

  1. Move your hands from the right margin of the page to the left one while reading.
  2. Let your eyes follow the movement of your hand. Try to be physically quick but limited to a pace that allows you to understand each line. Your peripheral vision can help with guessing the words at the end of the line, potentially doubling your overall reading speed. Regular practice can increase your speed by another 10 to 15 percent.
  3. Avoid speaking each word aloud while you read. Sub-vocalization decreases your speed tremendously. Moreover, you need to speak words aloud only when you’re giving a presentation, or improving your pronunciation, or training in sound pitch and accent.
  4. Scan the text quickly before actually reading it. This helps your mind to detect paragraphs that contain useful information, so that you can read them later. Scanning also trains your brain to assimilate information at an accelerated rate. The technique also helps to read better when you need to read several or more pages in a short space of time. With practice, you can teach your brain to grasp 400-500 words per minute!
  5. As you read, visualize the words at the back of your mind.
  6. Try a speed reading program online.

A Plan to Hone Your Reading Skills

Many websites offer easy remedies and tricks to help you increase the speed of reading. To read faster, first unlearn any habits that cause you to read slowly. A couple of poor reading habits are to: (i) re-read or skip back to read the line again and (ii) read while the television or music are going.

If you wish to know how to read faster, you need to increase your concentration. It also helps to have a good vocabulary, so that you come across fewer “strange” words and need not grab the dictionary again and again for them.

Hope the above tips on how to read faster help you become a fast reader. You can read more in a day and enrich your life with greater knowledge.

A number of speed reading sites offer tricks and techniques to help you master speed reading. Visit them to get audio files and more tips on how to read faster.

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Programs

UTS MBA in Entrepreneurship

The UTS Business School Master of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship (MBAe) is a unique 12 month intensive MBA designed for entrepreneurs and innovators.

  • Think like an entrepreneur through working on live projects;
  • Understand what makes your entrepreneurial venture successful;
  • You’re enabled to take your business ideas up to venture capital grade.

How the MBA in Entrepreneurship Works

The MBA in Entrepreneurship at UTS is uniquely constructed as three short courses. You can choose how, when and what you need to know whilst developing, with increasing confidence, your own enterprise ideas.

The MBAe helps you gain the necessary skills, meet the right people and develop your entrepreneurial project. It is for people who have ideas and want to see them through either as a start-up entrepreneur or as a change agent in existing organisations.

Dr Jochen Schweitzer, Program Director, MBA in Entrepreneurship

Why UTS Business School?

UTS has a strong reputation in innovation and creativity among global leaders, with a ten-year vision to be a world leader in innovation and creative intelligence research and teaching. As one of the world’s top 10 young universities, you can be assured of a learning environment that is both world-class and tailored to the needs of each MBAe cohort.

Agile, adaptive, applied

We understand that undertaking the MBAe is a significant commitment, not just financially but of your time, and we know you don’t want to put your life on hold while you study. Our subjects allow you to apply tomorrow what you learn today, and to give you the skills to adapt this to meet the unknown challenges of the future.

Position, position, position

The Ultimo precinct has evolved into Australia’s largest and most vibrant creative digital hub. UTS is surrounded by Australia’s highest concentration of startups, creative firms, large technology, media, education and corporate partners, the ABC and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. All connected by The Goods Line running through the heart of the southern Sydney CBD.

Categories
Skills

Cross-Disciplinary Skills

WHEN A DEGREE IN SCIENCE OR ENGINEERING IS PAIRED WITH SKILLS IN BUSINESS AND LEADERSHIP, IT CAN LIFT YOU TO THE PENTHOUSE SUITE OF PROFESSIONS.

For many technical or specialist jobs, there’s a clear career path from school to the desired job. And for positions not requiring specialist knowledge, the minimum educational requirements combined with a winning personality and work experience can often seal the deal.

But the transition to leadership positions presents a more blurred picture. CEOs with years of education and experience in management from large corporate organisations now mix with fresh graduates with multi-billion-dollar ideas.

Almost half of today’s jobs could be taken over by machines over the next 10–20 years, and 75% of the world’s most valuable companies will be replaced by 2027. So how can you prepare for such an unclear future?

“The answer is STEM,” says the Hon Karen Andrews MP, Assistant Minister for Science.

“It’s the ability to think methodically about your work; to solve problems critically and systematically. Employers want to know that you have the skills to navigate new environments quickly and authoritatively.”

Leonie Walsh, Lead Scientist to the Victorian Government, adds that employers of tomorrow are looking for “a better balance of skills including academia, active learning and business competencies”.

“A changing marketplace requires students to be more adaptable and flexible, and have good interpersonal and communication skills,” she adds.

You may want to start a business based on cross-disciplinary skills – both your STEM skills and business knowledge. Traditionally, this has been seen as an unusual choice, with around 1200 tech startups currently in Australia – a mere 0.06% of all Australian businesses.

But in December 2015, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a $1.1 billion package to fund ideas and innovation to support high-impact entrepreneurship.

Many Australian universities are already developing programs that encourage cross-disciplinary skills, solutions-based learning and an entrepreneurial mindset.

“There’s no best option, but we’re moving into a period where there’s more support to explore becoming an entrepreneur, and risk-taking is seen as a positive thing,” says Leonie.

Whichever path you choose, there’s no better place than a university to pick up the key cross-disciplinary skills and opportunities you’ll need for a successful career.

“Grab any opportunity you can, and where one doesn’t exist, create it,” says Karen.