Formal qualifications are increasingly becoming the requisite to gain a job in the increasingly well paid and competitive OHS job market, according to a report released by recruitment firm safesearch.

safesearch’s annual HSE remuneration survey of over 1,000 industry professionals found that 53 per ent of those in entry-level positions hold a minimum of an undergraduate degree, in stark contrast to last year where only 6 per cent had an undergraduate or higher qualification.

“Formal qualifications have historically not been essential for employment in the OHS sector where employers often regarded them as a ‘nice to have’ but not a ‘must have’,” Managing Director of safesearch Julie Honore said.

The landscape has changed substantially over the seven years we’ve been surveying the market. This year the dramatic shift confirmed what we are observing in our dealings with clients, which is that qualifications are now essential for safety professionals at all levels. Pleasingly, this indicates that companies are taking safety increasingly seriously.”

Pam Pryor, the Registrar of the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board (AOHSEAB), agrees with the report findings, saying, “The growing demand for quality OHS qualifications is partly why our Board was recently formed.”

“As the requirement and demand for formal OHS qualifications grows, it is important that the universities respond with consistently high standards and relevant curriculum.”

Julie Honore added, “The demand for formal qualifications at the tertiary level has been coming through from large employers for some time. With only four universities providing OHS Bachelor programs and thirteen universities providing Graduate Diploma/Masters Programmes, we are hopeful that these findings will prompt the education sector to recognise the demand from business. In this way we will ensure we continue to lift the bar of the safety profession bringing it into line with other professions."