Experience VS Educational Qualification: Which do employers prefer?

Every employer is always willing to hire an employee with the hope that such an employee would add ‘value’ to the organization. The interpretations of ‘employee value’ by employers differ from time to time and can often be quantified as either work experience or educational qualification. This post is an attempt to make a case for both sides of the ‘employee value’ divide!

In the real sense of it, the true value of an employee cannot be ascertained accurately. This is because the true worth of an individual in the talent marketplace is not static but changing as an individual’s career unfolds. A few factors that affect it include intellectual factors, demographic factors (such as age, population, labour/job demand etc.) and economic factors. 

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For you to succeed in your career journey, you need to understand what determines value in the job marketplace and how you can influence it.

It must be noted that in the talent marketplace, your value to a potential employer changes at every stage of your career and in every different positions you are in per time.

Your value in the talent marketplace is derived from two distinctly separate elements – the value of your potential termed ‘potential value’ and the value of your experience termed ‘experiential value’. Potential value is measured by your intellect or educational qualification while experiential value is measured by how much of your intellect or educational qualification has been put to work to produce results.

When an employer hires an employee based on potential value, he does that with the hope or trust that the employee would add value to the organization and when he hires based on experiential value, it is with the confidence that the employee has been successful before and there is likelihood to replicate such result based on previous experience. An employer sees experiential value as a certainty while he sees potential value more of a probability. If you were an employer yourself, which would you go for?

Allow me to make a few learning points for you to act on from today’s post:

  • Educational qualification is of utmost importance as it serves as your gateway into the talent marketplace: This means that you must invest so much in your intellectual value so as to earn great potential value before any potential employer.
  • Don’t make excuses that you didn’t make a good grade from the university, go and upgrade yourself: I mean get professional certifications and add to your university degree. Let me add this – after about 5years after your University degree, you tend to lose potential value without further professional upgrade. So upgrade yourself!
  • Experiential value is of importance, so go get one no matter how small: For young graduates, potential employers tend to ask about your extra-curricular activities or say how you spent your NYSC period. They believe this is a measure of your experiential value. You can also consider volunteering for free to get experience.
  • Make your work experience count and not just pass time: At this point, I must add that not all work experience would count to a potential employer but quality experience would. Please make sure you know your job well enough and you can replicate success elsewhere. That is the only way you can stand out in the talent marketplace

I believe today’s post has been yet another paradigm-shift experience for you all. So kindly share your views in the comment section. Do have a great day.

The above article was first written as a guest post and was published on Jobberman.com Blog.

Jobberman_March 15, 2012

Segun Akiode

Segun Akiode is a Chemical Engineer turned Strategic HR Professional. He is the Author of the fastest selling book "Corporate Misfit: Immutable Career Lessons for Fresh Graduates".

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