“To be considered for this job, you must be degree educated”.
Qualifications are a much-maligned criterion. A common LinkedIn moaning point.
I could do the job standing on my head…
I have years of experience; surely that’s equivalent to letters on a piece of paper…?
Why am I being penalised for moving into employment sooner?
No doubt, qualifications matter.
They feature industry and career-focused theoretical grounding and, in many cases, useful work experience placements.
They are a demonstration of professional commitment, and investment, to a specific career or line of work.
They represent transferable skills, such as organising a workload, learning and applying research skills, and work-life independence.
They serve as a mark of quality – independent proof, of sorts, that the hired or prospective employee is of a certain standard.
That’s all well and good, but…
In a labour market featuring skills shortages, are managers wasting talent through qualification-restricted shortlists?
When degrees or qualifications form a glass ceiling blocking career progression, are businesses losing talent?
Are businesses limiting their hiring options, unnecessarily, by exaggerating the significance of qualifications?
Qualifications need to be an essential requirement – but for the right reasons and the right type of role.
The right balance is needed between the qualification criteria and people’s experience.
Weigh up the importance of the qualification(s) against the quality of prospective employees’ career achievements, or the loyalty, commitment and determination they might have demonstrated, for example, progressing within a business over a longer period of time – rather than through academia.
At the end of the day, you’re hiring a real person and a real prospect – which is far more than a piece of paper, whether it’s a degree, an HNC, or a CV.