Education vs Experience — What do Employers Prioritise?

Education vs Experience — What do Employers Prioritise?

A candidate’s education vs experience is something all employers look out for. After all, both can dramatically increase your chances of landing the job you are pursuing — which only emphasises how equally valuable having an education and solid experience can be.

However, it can also depend on the industry you wish to get into. Some industries might prefer one over the other, or just simply don’t mind or require having both.

Read on to learn more about what employers look for. Is it education? Experience? Or a bit of both?


When Experience is Preferred

experienced middle aged business man

In industries that are constantly evolving such as digital marketing, web development, and information technology, experience is the key consideration for employers in these sectors.

Most of the roles emerging in these industries deal with technologies and concepts so recent, that almost no formal education, courses, and programs directly tackle them yet.

With that being said, the experience required for these industries can stem from taking on personal projects and being exposed to new concepts. Learning via video tutorials or shadowing a co-worker who has prior and extensive experience in a particular field are other ways of gaining experience.

Now you might be wondering “is it even possible to make it through an industry without formal education?”

Well, the likes of Bills Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are prime examples of people who never finished their formal education, but were more than just folks who “made it through”.

Although it’s worth noting that these successful individuals had an incredibly strong work ethic, exceptional ideas and brilliant minds, and the strong drive to succeed.

This means, ditching education and expecting the same outcome may not be true for all of us — but their mere existence in their respective fields shows it is possible if certain conditions are met.

Along the way, they were able to gain valuable experience that would then be necessary to run and maintain whatever they have accomplished.


When Education is Preferred

certificate and graduation hat for completed education

Getting a formal education is what most of us are accustomed to, and is probably the default path of getting into a successful career.

Industries that prefer education over experience are the ones that require certain qualifications or certifications ­— which you can only acquire by finishing a course or study programs.

Qualifications ensure employers that you are qualified for the job and is the “seal of approval” that you may be up for the job.

Industries such as accounting, the health/medical field, aged care, and childcare, all require qualifications and are absolutely imperative.

Even in industries where no formal qualifications are required, such as customer service and sales, a qualification can set you apart from the competition and boost your value as an employee.

Prior experience, in this case, is indeed a plus but is not required in most cases, as your qualification will be enough for most employers to hire you.


Employers that Prefer Education and Experience

educated and experienced female employee

Of course, there are employers that look to hire employees with the right qualification and seasoned experience.

These are employees with a combination of practical skills and theoretical knowledge.

From education vs experience, to education AND experience.

If you’re someone who’s looking to venture into a new career, most of your past experiences may no longer be relevant.

Taking a formal qualification will help you launch yourself into an entry-level position in your chosen new field.

Heaps of online courses incorporate a practical program, such as work placement or internship as a requirement of the course completion.

This can greatly help you bridge the gap between theory and practice, as you’re venturing into a new career and can be very beneficial for you especially if you’re lacking experience in your new field.

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