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Education VS Experience: Here’s the winner!

Whether you’re just entering the job market or considering a major career change, you’ve probably wondered whether education or experience is more important for your future. Here at Adzuna, we love helping job seekers get ahead of the game, and that’s why we’re attempting to clear the air.


In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of education vs experience, not forgetting about the transferable skills that never go out of style. We’ll also look at things vice versa, measuring up experience vs education and see how many employers prefer a good track record over formal education. You’ll also learn more about what kind of work experience measures up to having a bachelor’s degree.


Education vs experience, which one trumps the other?

Any good university director can chatter on for days about the importance of obtaining a degree. A lot of professions, like lawyers, engineers, and doctors, demand formal qualifications, and most other jobs list qualifications as “desirable”.


The university director would argue that a formal qualification teaches you transferable skills like research skills, analysis, and time management. Pocketing a degree will also showcase to potential employers that you’re a fast and dedicated learner.


Experience vs education

Talk to any self-made entrepreneur, and he or she will tell you that experience is the key to succeeding in the world of business. Entering the world of work right after Grade 12 will help you learn on the job and might also see you gaining valuable years of industry experience. So in this aspect, you’ve already got the upper hand when compared to your university friends that haven’t started working yet.


Having a lot of work experience is also great because it shows recruiters that you’re an easy candidate to “on-board” and that you’re very trainable. Plus, your track record of being in a certain industry for a few years shows that you won’t easily flake out after being employed for a few months.


The case of education AND experience

Although it might sound easy to have a degree and a few years worth of experience, it’s actually far from the truth. But greedy employers love to see a good balance of both education and experience. According to a Universum survey, only 58% of employers prefer to see a good track record or work experience more than grades or the name of their university.


Your best bet these days is to do a course that mixes hands-on training with academic studies. If you’re already employed and looking to further your qualifications, the right employee will give you all the time and resources you need to get certified in your field. Thanks to advances in distance learning, it’s a modern reality that’s available to most of us in the labour market.


Employers love seeing theoretical and practical skills from possible candidates. But all is not lost if you don’t have experience OR education. In almost half of all cases, employers choose candidates based on their personalities, according to the Universum study.


The take-home message

At the end of the day, there’s no clear answer as to who the winner is when it comes to education vs experience. Let’s take a few real-world examples just to make the point clear. Michael Dell, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have all been super successful entrepreneurs. Want to know what’s so astonishing about this? ALL of them were college dropouts!


Education isn’t necessarily a prerequisite to succeed in the world of business. It’s more a matter of education AND experience that will help you land the job of your dreams.