How travelling on a gap year can positively impact your career

Here, we take a look at how travelling on a gap year can positively impact your career, confidence and personal development.

With graduate jobs becoming more difficult to secure, people may think that a gap year straight after university will subsequently mean a gap in your CV – but new research shows that this may not be the case.

The research from Netflights.com of over 2,000 UK adults revealed that only 15 per cent of Britain’s over 25’s took (or still aspire to take) a gap year – whereas a whopping 54 per cent of 16-24-year olds have already taken one, or plan to do so in the near future, making this an increasing trend for post graduates.

Whether you’re ‘finding yourself’ by guzzling down buckets of whiskey in Thailand or taking a more traditional approach to absorbing new cultures – there are undeniable benefits not only to your personal development but also to your CV.

Two thirds (63 per cent) of people who took a gap year or sabbatical said it greatly benefited their CV and employability.

Almost everyone (90 per cent) who did an internship during their gap year said it positively impacted their confidence by combining both travel and employment.

When it came to self-progression, 90 per cent of people who travelled abroad said it positively impacted their confidence and over 40 per cent of students who took a gap year post college say they gained confidence, independence and maturity.

However, women seemed to take to travelling better than male counterparts; 46 per cent of females say that they gain confidence when taking a gap year, compared to 35 per cent of men answering this.

A further 40 per cent of females also said they gained a better understanding of themselves on a gap year than men.

The motivation for travelling was also different between boys and girls. Whilst almost half (46 per cent) of females chose to do so to boost their confidence and gain global knowledge; 43 per cent of males are grabbing their backpack because they believe it will boost their CV and job prospects.

Paul Hopkinson, marketing director from travel experts Netflights.com says, ‘Gap years were often seen as a hindrance to employability, but as our research has shown, the growing popularity has meant that employers have now started to view them differently.

‘Good value flights and trips now mean gap years are accessible to a wide range of different people – including those taking a break from education, post grads and workers taking sabbaticals from their jobs – so travelling is a no brainer for both personal development and CV enhancement.’

When picking a destination to visit – English speaking countries seemingly were first choice. The US and Australia topped the poll with a surprising entry coming in at number three – the UK and Western Europe. This was closely followed by Canada and Thailand.

Gap years seen as credible by managers

The majority of managers believe gap years are equally as or more important than degrees when recruiting, research finds.

Some 60 per cent of company directors believe skills learned during a year out can trump education, according to a study of 253 company directors by volunteering company Projects Abroad.

Managers looking for new recruits in the healthcare sector (82 per cent) are the most likely to consider gap years as equal in merit to a degree.

Conversely, only 36 per cent in the engineering sector rate the gap year as more important.

Dr Peter Slowe, founder of Projects Abroad, says, ‘To learn that gap year experiences hold an equal footing with employers alongside a degree, really shows just how far this once “off-the-wall” concept has come.’

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