University degrees are still required for most jobs, but there is a balance to strike between academics and work experience to escape becoming over-qualified and under-experienced, according to Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Asia in her latest LinkedIn Influencer blog.
There are a number of professions where having a degree is crucial, such as within accountancy and finance, legal, technology, engineering and life sciences. Employers in these industries look for talent with the right qualifications or degrees to ensure they have the necessary technical skills and knowledge to perform the job. However, experience counts for a lot too.
Christine says, “It’s no hidden secret that university graduates who boast good work experience stand out during the job search process. Real world work experience gives graduates a definite advantage over those who don’t have it”.
For those entering into further study – such as post-graduate degrees – too early in their career or before entering the workforce, there is a risk that employability can be hindered by becoming too academically qualified and not obtaining enough commercial experience and acumen.
Christine adds, “Around the world, we see employers grappling with skills shortages and there is a mismatch between the skills needed in the labour market and those of available talent”.
Employers need talent with relevant skills and experience to hit the ground running, who can add immediate value to their organisation.
“Apprenticeships offer a viable solution to closing skills gaps, promoting youth employability and producing professionals who are equipped with the skills employers need now and in the future”, says Christine.
Apprenticeships, on-the-job-training or industry-specific programs that combine classroom learning with practical skills development not only provide a clear career entry point but they adequately equip employees, and boost productivity of the local talent pool.
However bias towards university learning could well be stifling future generations’ employability, as a recent study in the latest issue of the Hays Journal highlights. The Barclays Apprenticeships study of 1,000 university students found that 42 per cent said their parents were their key influencer when making decisions on further education and work. Yet of the 1,000 parents also surveyed, only eight per cent were confident in their knowledge of apprenticeships, while 65 per cent believed university was the best option for their child.
There is an opportunity for apprenticeships to be improved and elevated to benefit employers that are lacking talent and for talent seeking opportunity.
“The benefits of practical and relevant skills and experience are countless for the economy, our industries, employers and jobseekers alike. These are real world solutions that can go a long way to improving employability and addressing ever-increasing skills shortages”, says Christine.
Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.