Qualifications Vs Experience: what matters most?

Qualifications vs Experience

With more University placements than ever before, is the only way to get your foot on the career ladder to have a string of letters after your name? Once upon a time you worked your way up from the bottom, staying loyal to an employer.

Since the cost of Higher Education has risen, many people are now thinking twice about heading off to Uni; favouring workplace experience! After all, many employers argue Graduates simply aren’t ready for the workplace and lack that key experience.

So, do qualifications still highlight the best candidate or is real work experience carrying more weight with employers? OR, do both attributes have their own merit and place in the job market? We discuss the pro’s for both…

Pro’s of Qualifications

  • A degree isn’t just about getting a job or a career. Many University goers will say it develops them intellectually, socially and personally; with many more added benefits.
  • Businesses often write job advertisements that specify that a degree is needed for the job, thus it values degrees and decides the market for that job role.
  • There is a greater job market now than half a decade ago; with the focus turning to more intellectual than manual skilled roles.
  • A ‘sandwich’ degree is worth considering if you want to mix in-depth learning with some hands-on experience. They have a great combination of theory and rigour, with a strong understanding of application of knowledge

Pro’s of Experience

  • Someone with 3 years solid experience who has completed some relevant industry qualifications during this time is a valuable resource. A newly qualified university graduate who has barely stepped foot in an office environment doesn’t have that experience. Experience means you can hit the ground running.
  • A degree qualification was once a major deciding factor in who got the job, but as more and more people have gained degrees, especially over recent years, employers have become less impressed on the whole, and focused more on experience.
  • Theory is great, but practical experience gives you a true understanding of a companies mechanics. Practical experience is uncapped in a workplace with hand-ons experience happening daily.
  • An employer looks favourably on a candidate with good experience. Experience demonstrates many qualities. You can’t build up good experience if you aren’t a good employee as you wouldn’t remain in the role. Experience shows candidates can work well in teams, alone, under pressure, be punctual, loyal and their ability to adapt and achieve in a real-life work environment.

The ideal candidate is a good combination of both theoretical knowledge and practical understanding. Different industries and job roles will favour the different attributes. Neither is more important than the other and it is ultimately what works for you. There are many successful people with and without degrees.

What can and will determine your success is your attitude.  Hard work beats talent when talent won’t work hard.

As Theodore Roosevelt said “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”