Opinion

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Should employers take academic qualifications into consideration when recruiting

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This year’s GCSE results for England, Wales and Northern Ireland have shown a significant fall which may lead employers to question whether they should take such academic qualifications into consideration when recruiting. 

There really is no conclusive answer to that question as this depends entirely on the job role in question and if the qualification is truly essential, desirable or not needed at all, in order for the job role to be carried out effectively.

Obviously, academic qualifications are pre-requisites for some professions certain jobs in the legal profession. So therefore employers must take these into consideration when recruiting and can ask any prospective employee for evidence of these qualifications to ensure they are qualified to do the job.

Some employers seek qualifications for kudos, for example a degree from a red brick university, or that all their employees have achieved a first class degree. Employers should think seriously about requesting qualifications for this purpose only – it does not make sense to do this if the job role is not dependent on this criteria and an employer may overlook the perfect person for the job.

There are many people who work in professional fields who are qualified by experience only and do not hold any academic qualifications. This may sometimes be seen as a barrier at recruitment stage but is often an advantage. Some employers prefer to recruit people who have more experience in the field they are recruiting in and would prefer to hire someone with three years’ work experience rather than another person who has spent the same three years at university. There are huge numbers of people who look at vocational qualifications rather than academic, and this is another angle for employers to consider.

Employers should not forget the vital, softer skills required that employees gather with work experience rather than through an academic qualification. These are skills that include communication, organisation, time management and flexibility which can make up a major proportion of a job role.

To summarise, employers should consider which qualifications are relevant and are essential for the job role to be carried out effectively to avoid missing out on candidates that have other important skills which mean the job role can be carried out as effectively.

Alan Price is HR director at Peninsula.

Image: Shutterstock

Meanwhile, candidates have quickly become more demanding, making the recruitment process harder for bosses. But with their pet peeves at hand, you can ensure you give potential staff a great first impression.

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