The Rise Of The Sideways Career

The Rise Of The Sideways Career

In order to develop robust and enthusiastic talent, companies need to weave learning and development in our organisations at a cultural level.

It’s become synonymous in the post-COVID-19 era and spurred thousands of workers to seriously consider their careers. The so-called ‘Great Resignation’ that has fallen off the back of endless lockdowns and shutouts, many people are eager to make a career change but are also very worried about job security. 

Cue the rise of the sideways career! 

A sideways career pivot is less disruptive than a career change, where you are choosing a completely different career and often starting over. When launching a career pivot, you typically do not have to start over since you are applying skills already developed. 

People often want to broaden their influence, work in a new department or diversify their skillset. They are seeking more fulfilling roles that offer flexibility. These are all things they can do in their existing organisation. 

Take Andy as a fine example – a new face at Schlam Headquarters, but not within the company. He has worked on the tools for 12 years and is well-versed in the intricacies of our company. 

Andy started as a Field Service HD Mechanic, but these days you’ll find him behind the desk working as a Field Service Coordinator at Schlam HQ. But why the move off the tools? 

His answer is simple – career progression and to spend more time at home with his family. Andy hopes to build up the field service team and branch into the Goldfields, which will provide opportunities to further develop and excel in his career at Schlam but in an entirely different way. 

Furthermore, one of the appeals of Andy’s decision was the opportunity to hone a new set of skills. 

“I’m currently learning how to manage a large group of people, and how to solve problems with customers and employees which will set me up for potential management roles one day. I am also learning how to invoice jobs, plan rosters, manage fatigue, and conduct interviews – all skills to make me a well-rounded employee.” 

Not only does Andy have the opportunity to further develop his skills, Schlam benefits greatly from his unique perspective and insights into what it is like for our workforce to work remotely. Since he has walked in their shoes, having a deeper understanding of his team can make all the difference to their experience at Schlam. 

Andy brings with him the voice of his workforce, knowing first-hand their pain points and tribulations. Already, he has become a valuable conduit between the new hires and the mobilisation team, making sure that their requests when starting their job has been addressed. 

When dishing up some advice to other tradespeople who want to get off the tools but still want to work in the mining industry, Andy has this pearl of wisdom to offer; 

“The mines will always be there so don’t be afraid to take some time out and try new things, if it doesn’t suit you can always go back up north!” he said.  If career progression is no longer headed in a straight line, neither should our approach to our employees’ desire to grown within our own walls. 

Employee engagement, compensation, company culture, and work-life balance are all legitimate demands of the current workforce. Those companies that move with the times and are at the forefront of their employee’s career development will prevail.  

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