With thousands of students each summer leaving education and then struggling to get themselves on the job market, it begs a question that has been around for a while now: what’s better qualifications or experience?
More and more times we’re hearing of people being turned down because of lack of time in the job, despite having the necessary qualifications, whilst people who have shown to prove themselves are getting hired.
Studies will show you that employers are beginning to weigh experience more importantly than qualifications, in the UK at least. The Ambition AXA Awards for talented people found that work experience was now a major contributing factor when considering potential new employees, with 57% of that mind, whilst more than one-in-10 believes it is vital.
Reasons for this included that employers can find it easier to differentiate between a candidate with work experience and without (58%), with 34% believing that because it’s harder to get work experience, it’s more of valuable for those who have it.
There is also an apparent lack of faith in graduates, with 59% of employers in the UK believing that university leavers do not have the appropriate skills for the jobs they apply for. As a university graduate myself, I’d have to disagree. Most degree courses in this day and age have specific focus on the workplace and do teach skills in the field. My journalism tutors sent us out into the ‘real world’ to get our own stories, interview the public or even the likes of politicians and other important figures.
Work experience is also a big part of a university course, with most offering at least a months’ worth of going out onto work placements, some even have the chance to go on work experience for an entire year.
But still, it’s still a tough question to answer when you also consider there are individuals who have started a job as a pure beginner and built up experience over a number of years.
When employers are considering applicants and they see one who has had three years plying their trade and learning by doing, against someone who has spent most of three years in a lecture theatre being told the ins and outs, no one could blame them for taking on the former.
It could be easy to sit on the fence and say you need both to get ahead in this world, but with most employers’ minds heading towards experience over qualifications, it can’t be ruled out that experience is a vital in getting a job.