Qualifications v Experience

In a recent questionnaire on the Real Employment Law Facebook page we asked employers whether they valued a relevant degree over relevant work experience, when recruiting, and the result was a resounding ‘No’. 100% of our respondents said they would prefer a candidate with relevant work experience over a degree.

The result is in line with a recent national survey which had a similar response. Local employers appear to agree with national employers, surveyed by the Independent newspaper, that job applicants with work experience or an apprenticeship would stand out above those with a degree.

The survey found that only 24% of those surveyed would take on an applicant with relevant degree qualification over those with a relevant apprenticeship or previous position.

The majority would put applicants who have demonstrated their skills in a practical setting at the top of their list and believe that work experience demonstrates that a candidate has a better understanding of the world of work.

The result is interesting as many people still think that having a university degree will be most valued by employers, but this may not always be the case. Although a degree qualification has a number of proven benefits, including an overall increase in an employee’s earning potential, increased social mobility and longer life expectancy, it is clear that work experience is also important.

The results of these surveys also illustrate why apprenticeships are becoming increasingly popular – including degree apprenticeships. An employer will pay just 10% of the cost of the training with the government covering the remaining 90%. There are also incentive payments available to smaller employers, who may be eligible to receive a 100% government contribution or a £1000 payment.

Of course, qualification and experience are not all that matter when applying for a job. The quality which employers’ rate, over qualifications, is having a good work ethic, closely followed by the ability to be a team player.

In contrast the attributes which turn employers off applicants include: poor spelling and grammar in an application, obvious exaggerations, and a CV which had not been specifically targeted to the role.

This article was written and researched by Abigail Stiles, Business Administration Apprentice

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