A bit of everything HR!
Monday 25 Feb 2019

Experience or Education: Which is More Important for Employees?

Whether you are entering the workforce for the first time, switching careers or you are an employer looking to hire new team members, the age old debate continues – is experience more important than a degree, or vice versa?

Scenario – Applicant 1 and Applicant 2 are both applying for the same job. They both had a very successful interview. Applicant 1 has 15 years experience and no degree or certifications. Applicant 2 is a fresh university graduate with no experience. Who is ready to take the job?

The answer to this question has plagued employers in a wide variety of industries for many years. If you are on the fence of the debate, there are several areas to consider to help you determine which is more important for your organization.


Career Field

In some industries education trumps experience (and vice versa). For example, in the sales industry AI technology taking jobs, having a successful track record of high sales will typically outweigh any degree or certification.

While in a high-tech industry, a recent college degree or certification with a concentration in the latest developments and innovations may be more appealing compared to an applicant without recent training. Similarly, in vocational fields, such as construction, may place a higher value on experience over education.

Your organizational industry will dictate, to a certain level, how experience and education stack up against each other.


Consider the Reputation

Reputation matters when it comes to both education and experience. Not all education/certifications and experiences are created equally. A degree from a reputable institution or recognized certification in your industry may carry more weight when compared to those from less notable institutions.

When it comes to experience, clocking 40 hours a week for 10 years doesn’t necessarily equate to the type of experience an employer is looking for. It’s important to consider how a candidate’s experience helped the company’s success. Did the potential applicant win awards, innovate, generate new business, or earn promotions during their career?


Skills vs. Experience

According to a recent poll conducted by Knod, 75% of employers expressed concern that schooling alone does not prepare students for the global economy, get educated online is a good option as well. Additionally, 80% of employers polled preferred candidates with work experience, and 66% of employees were hired based on previous industry experience over education.

Aside from experience and education, employers must also account for an applicant’s skill set. Such as:

  • Critical thinking.
  • Problem solving.
  • Communication.
  • Teamwork and collaboration.

It’s also important to note that some potential employees gain experience while they are earning their degree or certifications. Internships, volunteer experience, and work study programs all help to boost an applicant’s experience on their path to their degree.


Organizational Choice

Today, employers are looking for a variety of skills, talents, and personality traits in their candidates. As employers, we ideally seek applicants with the perfect combination of both experience, certifications, education, and skills. However, the perfect combination may be hard to find. Ultimately the choice between experience or education boils down to organizational preferences.


At MenaITech, we develop smart human resources management solutions designed to empower your employees and streamline your daily operations. Contact our team to learn more about how our solutions can propel your organization into the future.