Do you need a degree to do your job?

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By Stuart Danks
17 September, 2019

Do you need a degree to do your job?

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and whether our clients see candidates with degrees as more employable.

Within my own team I have a mix of employees. Some who haven’t got a degree but have surpassed all of my expectations with what they have been able to learn on the job. And those who have a degree, who seem tackle tasks in a more methodical, effective way, even if their qualification is unrelated to recruitment.

All of them are equally fantastic, but it makes me consider the importance of degrees and if having one makes you a better employee.

This quandary, along with my thirst for knowledge, has driven me to apply to do an MBA Masters. I want to see how it changes the way I work whilst I grow my education in business.

Earlier this month we went along to networking event, Shropshire BizFest, and used it as a platform to ask Shropshire business professionals – do you need a degree to do your job?

The answers varied, and it obviously depended a lot on what line of work the voters were in.

The Results… 67% voted no and 33% voted yes.

Some of the answers from the ‘no’s’ included, “You learn more on the ground than in the classroom,” “Experience outweighs any degree,” and “I am self-taught through business.”

Aside from careers that intrinsically need them in sectors such as medicine and engineering, the importance of having a degree seems to be waning.

With an average graduate debt of £50,000 for a three-year degree, many young people might be wondering if it’s worth it.

Grade inflation has hit the headlines in recent years. The number of Firsts that British Universities have given out has risen from 7% in 1994 to 29% in 2019. For every student who got a First in the early 1990s, nearly 20 students got one in 2019. This inflation won’t have been ignored by employers, who won’t see a candidate with a first-class degree as quite such a rarity anymore.

Every job is different - requiring a unique set of skills, and every individual will learn and develop in different ways. The experiences gained from going to University are unquantifiable, even if the qualifications are.

Not many eighteen-year-olds will know exactly what career paths they want to follow, so perhaps it’s time to start empowering them with all of the options available - apprenticeships, foundation degrees, entry-level jobs, internships, or the resources to start their own business!

A degree may not be the only option to help you achieve your end goal, and not having one shouldn’t limit your employability.

If you are looking for job opportunities or you an employer with recruitment needs, call us today on 01743 296 320.

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