You are here: Home > Debates > What’s more important: Qualifications or experience?

What’s more important: Qualifications or experience?

An academic and recruitment expert debate the age old question. Whose side are you on?

Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on LinkedIn42Email this to someone
1415

With the rise of university placements comes the rise of qualifications, and it soon started to seem like the only way to get your foot in the door was by having a string of letters after your name.

But this wasn’t always the case, and with the rising cost of education making some think twice about pursuing higher learning, plus grumblings from some quarters that university graduates aren’t prepared for the workplace is it time that work experience becomes the preferred attribute for employers, or do qualifications still highlight the best candidate?

We spoke with two experts to discover the advantages of each. But don’t be shy, we want to hear your opinions too. Is experience the only way to measure a candidate or should qualifications be a fast-track to career progression?

Qualifications are more important

Andrew Main is an associate dean at Bournemouth University. He thinks qualifications reveal much more about a person than just their academic prowess.

“Firstly, I would like to say that a degree is not just about getting a job/career. The benefits affect all parts of life; intellectual, social, sporting, personal, artistic, ethical, and so much more.

Recruiters often write job advertisements that specify that a degree is needed for the job, thus the market decides on this point, and it values degrees. Additionally, there are more jobs today than there were 50 years ago that involve working with your brain and fewer jobs involving manual skills.

A degree is a start in working life, after all. Then experience, to give it its due place, will increasingly provide opportunities for further development of the person.

Let us compare like with like, say a 21-year-old graduate compared with a 21-year-old with industry experience, both of equal intelligence. Let me give due credit to experience: it does not switch intelligence off (the way a few academics talk, one might think that they suppose the opposite).

However, education changes you. Given the same elapsed time, a course of education will bring a greater depth of understanding than experience can provide.

Thus experience may teach you that ‘doing it that way does not work’, but education gives you the theoretical knowledge and analytical skill to show why it does not work. Education develops your speed of learning and ability to learn at depth.

Thus the experienced learn new ideas processes or technologies, but the educated learn them faster and more deeply.

The graduates who are best at delivering high graduate value come from ‘sandwich’ courses with a year in industry. They have a great combination of theory and rigour, with a strong understanding of application of knowledge.

The courses I work on educate students for two years, place them in industry for a year and bring them back to complete a final year of education. They are outstanding. They gain jobs very easily and prove themselves quickly. The majority have very enviable careers”.


Read more workplace debates:

Is it harder for younger or older jobseekers to find work? Read the jobseeker battle between Jackie, 55, and David, 22.
Age Concerned? Our ‘office of tomorrow’ reveals what the UK’s ageing population could expect from their future workplace.
When’s the best time to apply? Michael Page takes a look at the best months to apply for a job in 2017.
Unusual interview advice, does it work? Is there any truth to some of the more bizarre interview tips?


Work experience is more important

Matt Hackett, manager of digital & marketing recruitment team at Orchard, sees the value of experience in the workplace.

“Nowadays everyone seems to have a or wants to have a degree, and there is still a tendency to jump straight into starting one as soon as possible. But is it the right way to go?

Is a 21-year-old with 3 years solid experience who has completed some relevant industry qualifications during this time a more, or less, valuable resource that a newly qualified university graduate who has barely stepped foot in an office environment before?

Putting yourself in that position, do you think you would be stronger placed having spent 3 years starting a career and having earned at least £30,000 during that time, or having learnt about a subject with limited practical experience and potentially built up large debts? If it’s the former, do employers need to re-evaluate who they are taking on in their entry level positions?

A degree qualification used to be a major deciding factor in who got the job, but I think 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.

If you asked most employers if they would select a raw graduate with 3 years in education but no tangible experience, or a college leaver with 3 years relevant experience, I would expect the vast majority would favour the latter.

Most job specs I receive stating reference to any required educational and qualifications are usually mentioned at being ‘ideal’ or ‘beneficial’ rather than essential.

When reviewing CVs, both personally and alongside employers, experience is reviewed before education in most cases, apart from entry/junior level positions.

A 3-year study-only degree doesn’t really work, so apprenticeships are starting to become much more commonplace within this sector, along with other workplace learnings.

Obviously this differs in some vocations where a certain level of education is required to progress beyond a certain point, i.e. law, accountancy, engineering etc.

The ideal is a good combination of both theoretical knowledge and practical understanding, and I believe this is better. However, from what I see on a day to day basis, the comfort blanket of seeing an individual with the exact match of experience to a vacancy swings an employer in most circumstances”.

What do you think is more important, experience or qualifications? Join the debate and let us know your thoughts in the comments box below!

Share on Facebook0Share on Google+1Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on LinkedIn42Email this to someone

52 Comments

(All comments have to be approved before they appear)

  1. Alan TonerFriday, 21 Feb, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    These employers want to scrap these stupid online personality questionnaires. These ludicrous tests are a BIG hindrance to a jobseeker. They have also been proved to be no reliable indicator of a candidate’s suitability for a job. They should be scrapped now, and a more sensible method of recruiting should be adapted – like being interviewed by a manager and asked PROPER, SENSIBLE questions, for instance.

    • Maxime LabarreSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 9:56 am

      Well, that’s another debate. But I don’t entirely agree with you on that point. I used Psychometrics for some years now and the thing is, it is valid and reliable, that is why big companies systematically use them. You say it has been proved not to be, I’d like to see your sources.
      Interviews are tricky because it is hard to objectify what is said during them. It is often too short to have a valid idea of someone’s personality or declarations. Candidates are not stupid, they prepare answers for interviews and it biases the process. Because it is argued that only the individuals know their personality but it presents two great limits (Baumeister, 1999):
      •Bias of self-awareness and self-evaluation
      (an individual is usually not behaving how he thinks he does or would actually behave)
      •Bias of social desirability
      (an individual usually presents himself in a way which is socially acceptable/valued rather than the way he actually behaves)
      I hope I was clear in my explanation.

    • Milos HomerSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 6:19 pm

      I am totally Agree with Alan ,because the Employer As a Fishermann need to know whom Fish he need to “catch “, Carp or Shark.
      For example I am a Civil engineer with 25 years experience and as a Site manager assistant on sites across Slovakia , Russsia , Kazachstan and Germany. But I am a not SMSTS and 1 AID card holder then I am not right candidate for this position . My fault. Anyway,I am lucky Maintena
      nce Engineer with one of the oldest P.L.C.in UK.
      But in UK I didn’t met a “Recruiter Agent” who
      knows MACULAN AG , or CHEVRON ,oil company from USA. On end of the day, It’s really degrading, to Me, personally to be questioned by “agent” who’s knowledge of firms and companies is in Radius 20 – 30 miles from branch office.

      • AdrianSaturday, 9 Apr, 2016 at 12:50 pm

        You are totally right….experience is more valuable.
        I think there is a powerful economical process of creating all kinds of qualifications which in reality don’t reflect a certain necessity when is about certain jobs.
        Basically a lot of crap nicely covered under a diploma shape which seem to be a good way of covering uselessness:)))…hope I made myself understood.
        I am an employee on a diplomat engineer position with a lot of input and good results and I don’t really like political justification and useless people which seem to have an important presence:)))

  2. Sharon TimbrellSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 9:20 am

    I am sure that experience is far more important than qualifications,you can be qualified to do a job, but until you physically do that job how will you or an employer know if you are the right person, qualifications do not prepare you on how to fit in with your work colleagues,or show how you are a team player etc etc.

    So come on all you employers out there, give everyone a chance.

  3. barry brickwoodSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 9:23 am

    qualification are good but practical exspiriance could be better if applicant has the required field for the job

  4. Kevin QuinnSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 9:31 am

    As an engineer I found I learnt most of my trade on site. Uni was useful for learning the things I was less likely to come across day to day bit nothing beats practical experience in my opinion. I’ve seen people come in to my work place with degrees and they actually perform worse as they have no hands on experience and even seen some people leave the field they are qualified for altogether because the application varied so greatly from the study they didn’t want to continue.

  5. m.izmiSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Seriously you spend years for a diploma or a degree and when you start work you realize that it is not the way the books said. You can’t beat on the job experience. I would rather employ a person with 10 yrs experience than a person with a degree or a diploma as I would not have to waste time training the latter.

  6. Peter H.Saturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Being old school,I remember the days of a personal deptment with a real person for a one to one interview.Entrance exams and a question/answer section of the interview was the norm. What is the advantage of e-mail online cv’s which in my mind don’t produce the longterm ideal goods most of the time. It appears that time is beginning to reverse with the reintroduction of commom sence apprentiships/handson postions appearing in the market place. Old school thinking is beginning to reestablish its self to rescue the job market again.A lack of forsight has been arround for to long,no long term training for the correct postions has been going on for to long, It would appear the Old saying Horses for courses should still apply in my way of thinking.

    Open for many comments regarding these comments
    Peter H

  7. Maxime LabarreSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Interesting debate, I root more for Andrew Main’s views since the Educational systems have changed over the years and as he says, now a lot of institutions (Universities, Business schools, etc.) require their students to take part in work placements, internships or professional projects during their academic years.
    Things recruiters don’t always understand.
    The second thing is that you have an evaluation for a degree, you get a grade. For an experience, as a recruiter, how do I know the candidate’s experience is a valuable one or not if I have no access to references?

    • Construction ManagerMonday, 31 Aug, 2015 at 8:56 am

      I agree, many industries have been hijacked by the Universities and recruitment agencies. The recruiter cannot possibly have a complete understanding of the requirements for the array of industries they recruit for. I disagree though, with your opinion that he cannot know if the candidates experience is valuable or not. His or her experience will be clearly outlined on the CV and that is up to the recruiter/employer to verify. For instance I work in construction as a construction manager, working my way up to that level from the trade,through the industry over many years. One would expect experience to carry some wieght despite not having a degree.

  8. IAS2014Saturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 9:40 am

    As an employer, I would give preference to candidate who possesses ‘hands on’ experience in their chosen role, rather than just qualifications.

    The term ‘hit the ground running’ is one which is often used by employers to promote the fact that they are looking for candidates who possess ‘hands on’ experience so they can start a role knowing exactly what has to be done, what should be done and what needs to be done.

    Volunteering – whilst an obvious opportunity for training – is not always getting the respect it deserves, but I understand why. Volunteers need a more full-time, robust training element to such positions whereby they can adapt to daily tasks & duties and the implementation of a desperate for daily conditioning working both with staff and clients. One needs to feel like an employee in training.

    The REAL question here though, is the frustration, stress and disillusionment that many young people – and, in general, proactive job seekers – have used. It seems clear to me that many feel they are being failed again… when they can’t afford to be failed again, right! Additionally, the news media has not done enough – ok, lets talk about the failure of the news media – to challenge Iain Duncan-Smith on such issues alongside such users of this scheme. This, in its self, is an attitude that further hinders the Upwards Social Mobility goals of young people – and group who are already challenged.

    So, there is a serious debate to be had about ALL of these issues -e specially as social mobility is key to the development of lives, communities and economic recovery. However, innovative ideas are the best counteraction for both change and progress.

    Does evidence suggest that the Work Programme, political policy-making, news media, Volunteering, Employer attitudes are actually doing its best to support the goals of those most challenged – but also, not those only seeking a career… but a career?

  9. Rio HamiltonSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 9:52 am

    As someone whose parents did not encourage me to study nor stand in my way when, I left school at fifteen, I was cast afloat into a world where I had to make my own way. After five years as a council gardener, I decided to branch out and went for a job at a newspaper. Despite my lack of qualifications, though I didn’t get the job, I did make it to the short list. Around this time, I decided to forgo the conventional career workplace and set off on an extended working walkabout. During that period, I did a wide variety of jobs, both skilled and unskilled, and managed to master them all. Even with menial tasks, I focused on doing whatever task it was, creatively and conscienciously. Each time, I was told if I ever wanted a full time job, they would willingly take me on. Subsequently I feel that while some degree of education is recommended, experience over qualifications has the edge.

  10. Heather BachledaSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I can only answer this from my own experience. I left school at 16 end July 1978, I remember taking final exams (which I paid extra for in order to take O’levels in my leaving year rather than stay on and take them the following year) and I started working for Lloyds Bank on 14 August 1978. I worked for Lloyds Bank for 7 and a half years and in that time I paid for my own further education and a local college. My career progressed from banking, to finance and then I became a Personal assistant and have remained in a support role ever since. I had a sabatical break aged 30 when my Dad died and I travelled for 2 years, then I came back to the UK paid off any debts by working at 3 jobs (1 full time, 2 part time). I then took a year out to take an Access course at college in order to qualify for University to take a business course (HNC in Business Management and Finance). I did all of this by myself and paid for it all by myself by working and saving up!

    I am now in the position of being redundant and despite applying for up to 16 jobs a week and attending endless interviews, I am still unemployed after 6 months on the job market. I have 24 years work experience, some college and University experience but the usual feedback is “there was a stronger candidate”. I’m not sure if this means academically or as I suspect, they were cheaper to employ!

    I am currently honing my skill set by buying various courses such as Microsoft Office 2010, an Excel course and an NLP course, all of these I can do at home at my own pace. After these if i still haven’t go a job, I will continue with my home study by taking a marketing course and project management course.

    Though I have experience and qualifications and the ability to study at home, my age is against me (I’m 52) as is the cost of hiring me! I can’t afford to start again as I have a mortgage and can’t rely on on my parents to help me out so that I can accept a low wage and quite frankly, why should I?

    • RebeccaTuesday, 6 Sep, 2016 at 2:37 pm

      I am in a similar situation. My post was axed due to public spending cuts and I have only had one response, a job for slave labour. I have been asked to wait by organisers and nearly three months have passed and I am still waiting.in the past people were redeployed in my situation.
      When I was in my early twenties I studied a post grad in management studies. Didn’t help me.so I am similar too old, experience and qualifications and now it does not mean anything

  11. Emma ScottSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 10:08 am

    I don’t understand how employers expect jobseekers to gain the
    experience if they aren’t given the job in the first place. As for qualifications, the fact that an employee has a degree does not mean they are right or the job. Learning in a college or university does not reflect how someone wold perform in a real work situation. I believe knowledge and experience should come from the job itself with sufficient training on the job and equal opportunities. Employers should select staff based on politeness, punctuality and willingness to learn. Not thier education or employment history.

  12. MarySaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Both of the arguments don’t fully address the issue that most job seekers face. For example, I have a BA and a paralegal certifcate and 25 years experience as a litigation paralegal, but can’t get a job because positions require a law degree (which in Englans is an undergrad degree, in the US is it a masters level) and an LPC. So I have the advantages of both sides of the debate, but there is still a prtoblem in the system. Is this agism then? Basically, I believe that the degree/quailifaction requirement is made because employers and recruiters are lazy and/or overwhelmed with highr supply than demand for jobs. The degree/qual requirements just cuts down the numbers for them without even reading a CV. Hence, we jobseekers have been reduced to word search victims. I find when a recruiter calls about interest in a position they ask me questions that can be answered in my CV. So they must not be reading. All in all, both degree and experience are important.

  13. Nicolai O'ConnellSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 10:20 am

    I have lots of both but I think that frightens more than not ? In the end it boils down to the individual differences of the primary decision maker and their competence / courage / motivation

  14. Mark TurnerSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I think that this debate will go on forever as both sides have value and merit. There is an unfortunate tendency in UK employers though to weight applications in favour of relative merit factors, notably age, by creating a series of requirements that very few people can hope to have.
    I am now recently out of work and despite 20+ experience, leading very large scale businesses to critical public success, feel that my age goes against me. As I have worked my whole life to date and committed to those roles I filled I have had very little time for in depth personal development such as a relevant degree (I actually have one but who needs an HR manager with an applied math qualification). This does not make me a less attractive option than a graduate, it does mean that I bring experience and understanding. What weighs against me is that I feel marginalised by my age.
    I feel that employers may be using qualifications as a bat to push out people who may be more expensive, who may be capable of understanding underlying issues they do not want aired.
    As much as a degree demonstrates the ability to think so does experience and a solid respectable work history.
    We hire people not qualifications so I would be happier knowing (as an employer) I had invested my money ensuring the best possible return by hiring good experience.

  15. Nina MartinSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Both have their place, what I have been finding particularly objectionable having recently found myself back on the market is how much employers value appearance over either. I have a wealth of experience and would be an asset to any company, but I am being rejected because I am not physically attractive and don’t have that stereotypical ‘corporate’ image.

  16. seanSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 11:39 am

    I think experiance is more valuable because of the fact that it is experiance employers would rather an employee who already nows there way around the work place and knows how things work rather than having to spend money on training.peoples perceptions are that someone who has a degree is more intelligent and more capable than someone who doesnt and frankly that is discrimination.Just because you have something written on a piece of paper and may have learned some new things it doesnt in the slightest make you more capable.

  17. David RobertsonSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 11:42 am

    Four years without permanent work have taught meyou need to do certificated courses AND some voluntary work. You NEED to keep updating your C.V. Beeare if you have uplpaded and stored a CV deleting and replacing it may remove all your personal details stored the first time. Good sites warn you.
    I have regularly been contacted for Sales/Marketing (chuggrrs) jobs 1-2 days after uplpading a naw CV so some employers do read them. I’ve never been contacted after updating/editing but it saves so much time I wish all sites stored all the details after each new upload.
    There are excellent free course online. In Scotland we have ILA,£200 to spend on education or training SAND Fee Waiver if you are on benefits.
    Good Luck, but sny job offers I’ve had even part time or temp have come soon after I’ve done a course.

    • BobTuesday, 12 Apr, 2016 at 9:03 am

      Maybe it’s your grammar

  18. RaymondSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 11:51 am

    The issue with any form of formal education is that a teacher can only teach what they know. Take the world of marketing, I know of some big international marketing companys who approach consultants who have no formal marketing education. But have masses of real world pay the bills experence. I’ve had people with marketing degress tell me that faxing is at the lower end of marketing. Well when you have bills to pay and you’ve been able to send out several thousand 2p faxes that bring you in real hard cash of over £300’000 in a 12 month period. This sort of snobery is just foolishness. Look at security guards the field I’m in, many people have qualifications but yet couldn’t even protect their own wallets.

  19. Leonardo PanichiSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 11:53 am

    I believe a good job recruiter must have some talent as well the candidate. Both are human been, the recruiter applying his intuition and experience to understand the candidate profile, skills, personality etc.; the candidate on the other hand, especially if we are talking of a creative job should provide not only a technical- theoretical background, meanly should demonstrate to have the attitude to learn,an open mind and preferably also some experience. A candidate, in my opinion, should be evaluated first for his attitude, secondary for his experience, third for his theoretical studies.

    Thank you, Leonardo Panichi

  20. miriamSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    I have desperately seeking employment now for the last few years. I need to work full time and have 16 weeks in order to find something and keep a roof over my head and my daughters till she goes to university. All feed back from employers have been good interview “just been pipped at the post by someone who has the bit more experience than you”. I have now been volunteering for two years and still cant get that foot in the door to prove my worth to others. It seems if your in a job you can get a job much easier…but getting that foot in the door is harder and leaving those of us who want to work in a frustrating and worrying place. I have qualification coming out of my ears in various departments has gaining more helped…NO but then nor has volunteering. All administration jobs are now seeming to be in favour of apprentices…Do I feel I will get a job in this current market NO as I am now 50, but I have to work to keep that roof over my head. I seem to be loosing out to younger people. It just seems a dog eat dog world out there..and me..I feel that kick every time the answer is “No thank you but we wish you luck in the future”..all I ask is for someone to give me a chance.

  21. Adrian GurrSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Gents

    As a holder of an ancient sandwich degree, followed by almost 30 years in high tech industry marketing and sales. I have one maxim in life relevant to this discussion, and that is “Balance in all things”. From walking to your work/life, or your income/outgoings, while short term imbalance is OK to achieve short term goals, life is good when you keep balance.

    Why is this relevant – well knowledge and practical application are both needed to achieve in most jobs, and both must grow over the course of a career. I’ve known PHDs who were so focussed on their subject that they lacked the breadth of application to integrate it into completing the full range of tasks asked by their employer. On the other hand a naturally gifted apprentice can bring inspiration to change and improve the procedures and efficiencies of their organisation.

    If we look at some of our greatest historical inventors, they made “discoveries” which academics later built the science and mathematical models for, but in some ways their innovation may have been stifled if they had been told their results would be impossible by the academics of the day.

    However in many cases years of experience do not count unless there is a continuous process of learning and improvement and taking on increased responsibilities. For example is a factory line worker of 25 years who has just been putting the same few components into a few million panels likely to be a better line manager than a worker who has held every position on the line and been a team manager, probably not.

    So in the current work place, we need a balance of academics and apprentices who interact. Unfortunately we have put most recruitment into the hands of people who don’t even understand the job descriptions they are trying to fill and therefore act as a narrow band filter using a tick box approach to get an exact match of skills and experience. Those applicants that survive this are then subjected to a barrage of pointless constructed tests, and an interview formula derived by HR professionals, before finally meeting those who have probably already done the job in question and are the actual recruiting manager and best qualified to assess the skills, experience, and personality of the candidate.

    The trend to drive more people to undertake degrees as a hygiene factor or entry qualification, means we see huge numbers taking irrelevant courses which do not naturally lead into a viable job for which employers are demanding the skills and willing to pay. In taking this direction the value of most degrees in the workplace is being downgraded (? In favour of relevant experience), meaning career minded people need to go on to even higher level qualifications in order to gain promotions. In the case of mid life redundancy, even these are becoming hygiene factors for getting back into the jobs market. Also at this point the recruitment industry has a poor understanding of the concept of transferable skills, and is preventing skilled, and experienced people being able to step across to newer and perhaps more vibrant growing industries, thus potentially increasing the perception of age discrimination, and slowing growth of talent in new fields.

    The recruitment / HR industry has inserted itself between hiring manager and job seeker, generating huge amounts of noise, expense, complicated hoops to jump through, and delay in filling posts. The natural flow of recruitment and training from within would be a much better place for organisations to invest the money wasted and hiring managers can then pick applicants with the best balance of skills and experience internally, as well as directly advertising (as we have much more reach with IT and the internet these days) for external candidates from related industries.

    Ultimately do we want a low skilled and low paid workforce?
    Do we want a narrowly educated set of academics who cannot apply what they’ve learned or do not have the vision beyond their field to understand the macro economic or competitive pressures that will kill their employers business?
    No we want a balance of both education and experience, with the training and succession planning to have a long term survival plan for both the business and the people in it.

    Ending with my second( and final) maxim in life “If you worry, you’ll die”

    Good Luck, Good Life, and Good Hunting !

    • SusFriday, 19 Feb, 2016 at 7:08 pm

      Are you trolling my brain? 100% agree with you.
      Do recruiters and job analysts care to examine what type of worker businesses need? The tick-box method – as you so rightly named it – does not take into consideration the “how” of a job, either – HR is using methodology stolen from military recruitment without applying the testing tools that make these methods effective – so pat responses are no longer examined in a practical way and cramming becomes a better way to pass an interview than making the effort to understand the business you are applying to get into, or how you will fit.

  22. Sandra E CollinsSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I actually have no idea what employers what anymore. I have been job seeking for quite a while. I would love to know what is wrong with curriculum vitae? I am told nothing. It all comes down to whether your face fits.

  23. Guy StratfordSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    While I can understand the requirement for qualifications, since they in no way guarantee a career of your choosing, I believe that qualifications shouldn’t rule someone who has several years experience out of the chance of getting a job of their choosing should it arise.

  24. Stuart NancollisSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Both are important. It is just a shame that there are not the opportunities for school leavers to try their chosen career route before committing to a university and a degree subject.
    I have been employed in the Commercial vehicle industry for 44 years and have come across people who once given a chance to try out a business sector have either siad this is the path for me or sorry not for me.
    There used to be student apprenticeships that would allow people to go to university once they had decided that the career path was correct and they had gained some practical experience.
    The periods at University were staggered with periods of hands on work thus giving the student an opportunity to apply theory to practice.

    Having said all of that business revolves around people. Inter personal skills are vital .

  25. Chimezie OkonkwoSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    I think schools, colleges and Universities probably need to get closed so everybody stays on the field to learn how to play football. Imagine living in a world where when you don’t go to school you’re labelled an illiterate. However when you do go to school and subsequently apply for a job, you’re told you’re over-qualified! Just a very decent way of saying ‘You CANNOT get the job’.

    So what’s the point of Education anyway if illiterate footballers have to get the most pay for just kicking a bloody ball around?

    I did not bother reading the article above but the question is very clear for anyone to understand without reading the long story that follows it.

    Experience? How would an experience be gained if the ‘experienced’ did not start from somewhere. So what is ‘experience’ if someone trained you on the job and quite possibly helped push you to that level where you are now considered ‘EXPERIENCED’???

    This is why (I suppose) people get educated – to learn in detail how to do the bloody job! You can call it ‘QUALIFICATIONS’ only when you’re in that illiterate group! It’s not the paper you received after the Education that counts, it’s the seasoned and invaluable knowledge you acquired.

    Some of us paid thousands of GBPs and USDs etc to get Educated and at the end you probably ended up doing a wack job. The illiterates “with experience” get the CEO jobs.

    Most Educated people have experienced working for organisations where your bosses were all stack illiterates and they probably started learning the real job from you. I have indeed had complete illiterate bosses “with experience” yet they’re so empty in the head.

    It’s terribly annoying and makes Education irrelevant.

    Education just ended up uneducated!!!!!!!

  26. Paul BaddeleySaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    All i get in feedback from agencies is “Im sorry i have so many candidates with better qualifications than you” I spent the last 43 years getting experience and doing the job and now it counts for nothing. I believe experience to be better than someone who has it on paper but no real clue of the world.

  27. Claudette NoticeSaturday, 22 Feb, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    To summarize both of the comments that have been made, I believe that combining the two options works better,

    1/ Having the qualifications
    2/ Having the experience

    Therefore when applying for 2 separate jobs and they ask you if you have any experience/qualifications in that particular job then you have the best of both worlds.

  28. IqraSunday, 23 Feb, 2014 at 12:38 am

    For me it has to be experience because without that you cannot get a job now. Every job interview you attend the interviewee will ask what did your experience consist of.

  29. david jonesSunday, 23 Feb, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    I agree with Alan Toner on what he says there is far too
    emphasis with these online personality questionnaires,what
    about the experience and the ability to be able to do the job,even if it may mean on the job training.

  30. Pamela MSunday, 23 Feb, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I feel it’s a very complicated problem. With the pace of technology so rapid, very few people leaving education will be suitably qualified for the jobs which will exist.
    Add to this the reluctance of employers to include induction or training and their I realistically high expectations.
    Then we have the differences caused by location and job availability. Someone living in London can walk straight into PR with a Classics degree. Up North, no such jobs exist and Arts degrees are seen as a waste of time.
    I won’t even mention ageism and sexism!
    Me? Looking for work with a Science degree, a post grad, 20 years of experience and a broad working background. Hey! I’d be great in PR

  31. Stewart ReedSunday, 23 Feb, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Only experience matters. Quals only mean that you can remember what is in books. Many projects fail because the managers have as many paper qualifications as you need, but nothing beats working with people who have hands on experience of the job in hand.
    On the other hand you can’t get experience without getting a job, and you can’t get a job unless you have experience or the qualifications required, so catch 22.
    I also agree with you Alan, job interviews should be conducted by an experienced manager and not by some young kid who throws american style interviews at you expecting you know the latest buzz words. I have stopped interviews and walked out because the person interviewing me had a lesser knowledge than a gcse school child.

  32. JosephMonday, 24 Feb, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    You might be a better mindless drone if you don’t go to university and went straight to work. You might have less dreams and want to go onto something better. So from an employers perspective they want people without degrees, because the are evil reptilian scumbags without a sense of morality. Because morality doesn’t sell.

  33. Larry GallMonday, 24 Feb, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    I think it’s a combination of the two approaches,” in the right amount is the true secret”. Leaving school and just working for 3 years (in whatever field) is not sufficient, as is doing a degree for 3 years without any experience of the real working world is not enough. Combining the two practices as the first speaker (Andrew Main) suggested, would be the ideal way for individuals to become more attractive to employers. I think today, “SKILLSET” is the more relevant when trying to find employment. With the polarisation of the British job Market. “1 Million Unskilled jobs and 5 Million Unskilled workers – 5 Million skilled jobs and 1 Million skilled workers”. There are too many workers for the unskilled jobs, so the employers have the pick of the crop, but there are not enough high paid skilled/professional workers for all the Highly skilled vacancies. It seems the best way is to leave school or college and go straight into the job market for a few years then go into some form of education either full time part time or evenings, even home college (e-learning) gain the qualifications at that stage in your life and the employers will be knocking your door, you will have exactly what the employer is looking for, Skills, Education and Experience.

  34. Anita BlackTuesday, 25 Feb, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    I think that it is very hard for university graduates to obtain positions these days. I have had a lot comment that they have to “dumb down” their qualifications to stand any chance as employers think they are far too qualified. This makes a complete mockery of trying to better themselves. Experience is important but how are they to gain this if this is the attitude?
    At the other end of the spectrum, which affects me, older people are disregarded a lot when it comes to jobs. They say ageism does not exist but I have found that to be incorrect. I was made redundant 2 years ago and have only been able to obtain temporary jobs. However I feel that if you are capable and willing to go for these, surely it shows you are capable of working and are a good prospect with years of experience..

  35. TimWednesday, 5 Mar, 2014 at 11:52 am

    I have a degree and 3+ years experience, but value my professional experience much more than my education, with very little of the detail learned from my course being used. However, I’m now having to look for a new job, and nearly every job advert will specifically require a specific degree and the experience. My last role was quite technical, but not something a degree would cover (not that I’ve ever seen), so the only way to learn would be through doing the job. I worked alongside someone else who didn’t have a degree, and I believe that in the 9 months I worked there, I achieved a similar level of ability as my colleague that had done the job for 3+ years! A degree should show an employer that the individual has the capacity and desire to learn new skills more than anything. Anyone will get good at a job if they do it long enough!

  36. RalphFriday, 25 Jul, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    For my MSc thesis, I recently carried out an on-site project to optimise a key part of the Supply Chain for a major global manufacturer in the aerospace sector. Surrounded by engineers of the continuous improvement team and the supply chain department most with many years experience, the following was evident:

    1. My 18 months of Postgraduate education vastly out-weighed anything that ‘experienced staff’ could offer in terms of understanding the problem, defining it and developing a coherent solution.

    2. The greater the experience of the staff member in question, the less able they were to offer innovative thought or solutions.

    3. ‘Experience’ is largely confused by HR departments and recruiters in general with ‘time served’. They are not the same and furthermore their is good experience and bad experience as eluded to in the article.

    4. Companies frequently talk a good game about wanting staff with the latest skills but don’t want to pay for it and/or see a graduate as a risk or even a threat as they may often know more about the subject in question than management.

    I provided a plan that will provide the firm with the ability to compete strongly through their supply chain and will save them millions of pounds when implemented.

    For their part, they recruited an insider for the role I later went for there, preferring mediocrity over the chance to gain an injection of the latest skills and innovative, post-graduate thought. All this in spite of their recognition of the value of my work and general contribution to the firm. It says a lot about recruitment and management in the UK.

  37. StevenTuesday, 9 Dec, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    As someone who left university with an average degree 18yrs ago and poor work experience (lots of unskilled manual work) I have found that finding work very difficult. I have had many temporary posts and volunteered in order to gain that vital experience whilst I view my degree as an unimportant qualification (some employers I have applied to have even seen it as an obstacle to hiring me). Agencies seems to discount volunteering as good experience (only paid work counts in their mind) and most employers I talk to speak of experience and continuing development (hard to do if you can’t gain a permanent position).
    My advice to any young individual looking at the work environment is take any opportunity that comes your way, develop your skills and be positive in driving forward. Use qualifications to open doors as much as you can and gain that crucial life experience to match.

  38. astronavisWednesday, 17 Dec, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    The division in people through qualifications and experience is absolute pure ingrowing ignorance ….I have seen with my own eyes people who have gone through the ranks of further education and degrees for years end up behind a desk with everything in theory spot on until they have to go on the shop floor only to fumble around , drop spanners then cut themselves ,they then always ask the person next to them (how to do the job)…Their is no doubt about it , a person who spends his days taking engines apart gains far more knowledge in his or her own way about the subject faster and better than a person who spends their time going to university, they just wont be able to use the posh words , (flight without theory ) ….The system we have is seriously wrong,it isolates people and suppresses natural aptitude . People have the same amount of intelligence ,just some learn at different rates and some are very good at only what they are interested in ,, but in general if you shove a lit newspaper at a person they will move away . proving we are all the same . People are forced through education system by the rich in order to put them to work on a tax farm , to ride their backs for profit.Education is a form of mind control and the qualification gained is the pass for the gates to your life being stolen then remoulded into what someone else wants of you to create money , money is a thing that is useless in the dessert… So if we get rid of money , the rich will go with it ,then everyone can live a natural life , with aptitudes towards skills that they are naturally suited , neither the less some people are happy without skills and just good old fashioned grafting , but they still will run rings round a person with a degree in physics even if the job is just breaking rocks . We should get rid of the papers , the money and the rat race and start taking anyone into the workplace and you will be amazed how fast they pick the job up . because we all are the same . then maybe people will be more happy in life with a free mind with time to look after our planet , the one that belongs to us all fair and square .

  39. Shailly KapoorSunday, 31 Jan, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    Not sure I would count either of them as important provided one has a proven track record of a top performance and has various kind of industries listed in his ‘past employers’ list. What do you call that person? On the contrary I am very supportive of hiring people with fresh blood into a so called, man-inverted vertical or industry specialization. You need sheer talent, willingness to learn, great attitude and loyalty. If any entrepreneur is ready to place bet on such an employee, learning anything all of else would be a piece of cake.

  40. Andrian HarsonoSaturday, 9 Apr, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    You need both!

    Any team should ideally be diverse. It will have people who are educationally qualified to apply the theoretical rigour and possess the deep technical understanding of the issue at hand. It will also have people who know immediately why certain methods are not going to work and which will get you from A to B most effectively.

  41. chiamakaSaturday, 9 Apr, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    We are missing the point here. It is not about one or the other. Both acquisitions matter in life. When one graduates from any institution including a secondary school and A’Level college they need the experience to back up the academic knowledge.

    Employers who were supported into work themselves are now unwilling to provide work experience to older people. They concentrate on kids. The workplace is in a mess. Countries are awash with institutions, but employers who themselves are educated are shunning qualifications. So why do so many higher institutions exist? Why are different courses being promoted if in the end the outcome of these courses are not utilised? We think we are smart but we are simply wasting resources.

  42. ColinMonday, 11 Apr, 2016 at 12:33 am

    I currently work in the Controls and Instrumentation Engineering sector and have worked with many Controls engineers, I have never looked out of place working with Engineers who have degrees and often take control when working on projects, I have also worked with many Controls Engineers without degrees and these are the guys I have been most impressed with, I do feel not having a degree does hold me back and would hope that one day I would work for a company who would help me to achieve this.

  43. RobinMonday, 11 Apr, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    In effect the issue is “do you appeal ” to the individual who is hiring or making the decisions?
    When I say do you appeal it is more about the opinion of the person who compiles the job description as businesses can’t make decisions.
    If the individual is themselves biased towards Qualification over Experience then during the sifting process the experienced will fall through the sieve.
    I want to offer a reflection I had while supporting a new colleague in the same position as me. We interviewed several applicants, all as per normal had good points and some small risks, we used a well tried and tested selection process, at the end compared notes.
    When I asked who did they feel best they responded with No 2 who I felt stood out as well. They offered the job to No 3, when I later met up I asked why did you change your mind?. Response was, ” if they fail their probation, and have to justify why they were selected I can state they were best qualified” in my opinion this was about taking the pressure off my colleague.
    I can honestly say that in my experience I look at the applicant, take a balanced view and by asking the correct questions, will they fit in with the business culture future needs or not,?

  44. RajMonday, 11 Apr, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    T o have a degree on a particular subject is brill but u also need to know how to communicate with different types of people from all walks of Life?? I mean a person who’s achieved a master degree with distinction in a subject is of no great value then a persn who’s achieved 5 yrs of experience in the same field!!!???

  45. Divya Prakash MishraMonday, 14 Nov, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    I’m of 38 years of age & have no experience but I challenge to those candidates who are young ………if I get job, I’ll prove it!!!!!!!!…………

Leave a comment (*required fields)