When the GFC hit in the late noughties—the last major global recession—the tertiary sector suffered fewer job losses compared to other industries. This is because responsive institutions grasped the opportunity to educate workers who’d lost their jobs. Upskilling was seen as a way to invest redundancy payments in order to change career or gain competitive advantage in a shrinking job market.
It remains to be seen whether universities, TAFEs and private education providers will be ready to exploit and benefit from a similar strategy during this and coming years. With the government’s change of course subsidisation from 2021, they are under even greater pressure to deliver the types of education which lead directly to students finding jobs.
Unfortunately, unlike the GFC, overseas recruitment forums, open days and other face-to-face recruitment drives are off the agenda. This calls for innovative marketing and outreach to potential cohorts in an even more competitive market.
Tertiary education has withstood many changes over time, and the current crisis will eventually pass. However, it's those Institutions that invest wisely now that will prosper when the world as we knew it returns to a reset level of normality.
Change, the only constant