Qualifications vs Experience - S8 Expert Recruitment Solutions

Qualifications vs Experience


Qualifications vs Experience

In a discussion which seems to be as old as time, I’ve been pondering the importance of a degree as opposed to on-the-job experience. Every now and then it’s one which comes up as my clients and I discuss what we’re looking for in a candidate.
Some businesses are particularly stringent with their hiring practices and you simply will not be considered if you don’t have that piece of paper. However, more and more conversations are being had about the relevance of a university degree. In fact, when university graduates were surveyed late last year, only ¾ of university graduates agreed that their degree was worth their time and effort. Degrees which polled the lowest in relevance were those in the Humanities,
Culture and Social Sciences followed not too far behind by Creative Arts and Communications.
So, if presented with two candidates, one with a degree which took them four years to complete and one with four years of on-the-job training, which would you choose? Both of them have invested the same amount of time in their career, though you could argue that the job-trained candidate had a more clear direction of where they wanted to be. The university graduate has obviously had to develop strong research skills and should be able to assimilate and process information well but, what’s to say your other candidate can’t do the same? From where I’m sitting, experience specific to the role you’re hiring for is definitely a plus. Providing accurate sales figures which demonstrate an ability to exceed targets is always a good omen to me.
Which leads me to, when you’re hiring a Sales Rep or even a Customer Service Rep, why is having a degree so important? In a role such as these, personally, I’d pick relevant experience over a degree-qualified candidate for my clients any day! So many times in my years of recruitment, I’ve met people who have got a little way into their career, only to change direction and, after gaining experience and knowledge, they chase what they now know to be their passion. Besides, in my opinion, doing an MBA or Business Degree while you’re working would make it far more practical and relevant. To me, it seems that at the very least, more collaboration between universities and their corresponding industries would result in more work-ready graduates.
Now that I’ve given you my opinion, on which side of the fence do you sit? Are you in favour of the degree or the work experience? I’d love to hear from you, particularly if you’re someone who has felt particularly empowered by having gained experience over a degree, or vice versa.

Shannon Wood, Managing Director S8 Expert Recruitment Solutions. I have over 14 years recruitment experience specialising in the animal health industry across the ANZ region. Areas of expertise include sales and marketing, technical roles (Quality Assurance, Quality Control & Regulatory Affairs) and operational & financial positions. I work extensively in the veterinary, ruminant, monogastric, aquaculture and the pet specialty industries and I look forward to the next 14 years.


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