Jobs Today: Degree v Experience - candidate choices

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Are you sacrificing the best candidates by demanding a degree? We’re getting straight to the debate on this.


Employing someone with a degree is like employing with a safety net attached. They might not have any experience but you can guarantee that they will have studied the relevant subject at length and in detail whilst at university, therefore preparing them for a higher level of understanding when they eventually start working in their industry.

They will probably have written a final thesis on their specialist subject; so you know they will have the knowledge to be able to form ideas for your business.

Where in-depth knowledge is required, and a deeper level of understanding is needed, employing a candidate with a degree might suit your business needs better.

Tip: When advertising a job requesting that a degree be held by the candidate, it’s important to allow some flexibility within the advert. Putting ‘degree preferred’ rather than ‘degree required’ will provide a better selection of candidates - one of which, might just be the ticket for you!


Sometimes a degree in the appropriate field is essential. Medical professionals, solicitors, teachers - these jobs all require a degree and the candidate only needs to be as good as their passion for that industry.

Candidates without a degree have simply gone out into the working world and started early - because they couldn’t wait.

While graduate marketing professionals or graduate fashion execs were busy for 3-4 years gaining knowledge and writing essays; candidates who went straight to work have already developed a PPC strategy and are running their own retail


Some of the most successful people in the world do not have a degree.

Sir Richard Branson left school at 16, retail mogul Philip Green dropped out of high school, Ingvar Kamprad (founder of IKEA), Etsy founder Rob Kalin flunked high school, even Abraham Lincoln, who only had one year of formal schooling, became the President of the United States!

Tip: Ask the candidate within the job application process what tools they are using to keep abreast of changes within the industry and to continue their learning.

This will help you to identify if they’re focused on their development and passionate about a future with you.


Seeking only candidates who hold a degree in the relevant subject will reassure you that they will understand their dayto-day role.

However, applying that knowledge in the real world will be a learning process that you will be paying them to explore.

However, one of the main benefits of not having a degree is the ability for the candidate to learn on the job and practice their all-important decision making skills, which should enable them to learn from their wins and losses.

So, do you think it is essential for candidates to have a degree these days?

Fill your vacancies with the best local candidates.

Call 0141 236 6459 or visit us at JobsToday to find out more.

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