Qualifications vs. Experience

Qualifications vs. Experience

What do you value highest from candidates? A solid, all-round educational background or more practical, relevant work experience? A common pitfall across graduates, despite their educational achievements, is a lack of work experience accrued over the years. However, young people are seemingly beginning to realise this. In recent research carried out by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, it was discovered that 46% of graduates are doing volunteering work in order to boost their CVs. So which is more valuable- qualifications or experience?


Although many employers place a big emphasis on having relevant work experience for certain roles, for many people who have remained in education for an extended period it is difficult or even unfeasible to secure enough experience that employers often seek. It is worth remembering that although many graduates may lack the experience craved by employers, degrees give young people many transferable skills- such as communication, teamwork, organisation and adaptability.

So although it may be tempting to dismiss candidates  because of a perceived lack of relevant work experience, as recruiting strategies go it may be wise to look beyond that and consider the skills that have been gained from relevant qualifications instead. By delivering your criteria to an online recruitment agency, you can benefit from a team of recruitment specialists producing a web-enhanced job advert, screening potential candidates and delivering the most suitable ones to you. And the best bit? You can get all of that for one flat-fee.


On the other hand, it could be argued that a strong working background is vital for many job roles. Although graduates undoubtedly gain a general skill-set from any degree, as well as some skills that are relevant to specific jobs, there’s often no substitute for having relevant workplace experience in related fields. After all, a recent survey discovered that 15% of students left university with no work experience- and half of this group failed to secure employment after graduation.

Skills such as punctuality and determination have previously been cited by employers as the areas in which fresh-faced graduates were lacking- and unfortunately, not many degree courses exactly improve these skills. With as little as 6 hours in some subjects and no penalties for failing to attend, the working lifestyle can be a shock to the system for a lot of young people.

A bit of both?

Suitably, your best bet could well be to plump for a mix of both qualifications and work experience. A combination of the two should ensure that the people you take on have as varied a skill-set as possible, in order to be a real success for your firm.

But that may not be the case for every company. It’s all about weighing up the options and deciding whether your business would benefit more from relevant experience or relevant qualifications.