Five ways union membership can advance your career

Published: 10/05/2022
Category: Working life
Published: 10/05/2022
Category: Working life

For many of us, being part of a union is about that feeling of solidarity. It’s about the power of collective action and the peace of mind that comes from knowing someone always has your back. Always. 

But, many union members – at all different stages of their careers – are looking for pragmatic and professional reasons to join. They want to make smart career moves. They want to get fairly and decently paid.

So, idealism aside for just a little while. Let’s look at five pragmatic reasons to join your union if you’re looking to advance your career. 

1. Build your network while you strengthen it

The word ‘networking’ should be a far cry from the idea of CEOs swapping deals in over-priced hotels.  

When you’re a union member, networking can be about meeting people who share your values – the kind of people who can help you forge robust, long-lasting connections in your industry – and who can give you fantastic, practical support and advice about your workplace and sector.  

Whether you’re just looking for more support, guidance and mentorship or scouting for new opportunities or ideas, we’re sure you’ll find a way forward with at least a few of our two million or so members. 

Union members from the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation, and the Victorian Trade Halls Council stand together.

2. Become an expert in your industry

Want to impress at your next all-staffer rather than get an adrenaline rush when you’re asked a simple question, like your name?  

Depending on your union, there’s always a range of union-run events and activities that are exclusive (or at least cheaper) for members.  

Whether that’s panel talks from leaders in the industry, industry-specific training courses and certificates, or even just insider access to all the latest industry news and insights. No one knows the ins and outs of your industry quite like your union.  

And with a bit of help on your side, we know you’ll get there too. 

3. Improve your skills with excellent training

If you want to take your skills a step further and become a union delegate, we’ll train you in all the latest skills, like advanced negotiation, public speaking and facilitation.  

The training itself may focus on workplace disputes, but it will also cover more competency-based upskilling along the way.  

Not your thing? We can also help recommend to your employer the training that will assist you in taking whichever step you need most. 

4. Sharpen your soft skills while helping others

The world of work is changing. Take a look around any modern workplace, and you’ll realise that what we need is more empathetic leaders with human-centric skills. In management speak: ‘soft skills.’  

At the end of the day, joining your union and working together to solve the difficulties people face in their working lives will help you develop soft skills like emotional intelligence, leadership, teamwork and critical thinking.  

These are the traits that make for truly exceptional workers who others want to see succeed. 

5. Know what you’re worth and then demand it

The last one is easy. When you know your rights and how to advocate for them, you can enter any workplace with the confidence and calm of someone who knows exactly how to handle and avoid unfair working conditions – even when they might not be that obvious.  

Trust us, when it comes to negotiating your salary or knowing what you should be getting paid in your next job, the pay transparency that comes with being in a union can be invaluable. 

Whether advancing your career or advocating for workers and colleagues, it pays to be in your union. 

Know your worth

Contact Australian Unions today to find out which union is the one for you.

Five ways union membership can advance your career

Five ways union membership can advance your career