Education vs Experience | What employers in Cyprus & Malta are looking for in 2022

Education vs Experience

What’s more important when it comes to getting a new career opportunity offered to you? Education or experience? What do employers in Cyprus and Malta value more?

Whether you’re applying for your first job, looking for your next step in your career or thinking about changing your career altogether, your CV is the key to your success at landing your dream job. Education and experience are two of the most important details employers look out for on a CV when hiring.

A recent GRS study revealed that 75% of respondents felt they did not need a degree to do their job, so we decided to delve a little deeper.

What’s the difference between education and experience?

Education is facilitated learning generally from teachers or training.  In a job-hunting situation, education usually refers to someone’s higher learning and mainly their university degree.  The first academy for higher learning in Europe was actually founded in Athens.

Experience is gained through practical, hands-on experience “doing the job” itself.

The benefits of education

Those fresh out of secondary school are often unlikely to have a tangible amount of relevant experience, which could hinder success in finding a job. Obtaining a university degree can therefore offer role-specific skills and specialised knowledge that may be essential for some employers, especially if training is not provided on the job.

Studying at university offers you the opportunity to learn transferable skills, such as critical thinking, researching, communication and presentation skills, which are crucial for your future career.

Sometimes, a university degree alone can be enough to land your chosen career.

The value of experience

There are so many benefits to gaining valuable work experience that can help you impress employers and secure a job.

Working in a professional environment immediately exposes you to develop transferable skills, such as communication, time management and problem-solving, as well as role-specific skills, which will vary depending on your job. Studies show that practical knowledge provides a much more profound understanding than theoretical knowledge.

Education vs Experience: What’s more important to employers?

So, is a First Honours from a red brick university worth more than hands-on experience in a professional work environment? In short, the answer is no; however, this will depend on the role you are applying for and your employers’ preferences.

A university degree isn’t always mandatory and many value experience within the job above and beyond this theoretical learning. Yes, you can learn an awful lot studying at university; however, you can’t learn everything from a textbook and exams do not offer an accurate reflection of your capabilities and potential.  More and more we see employers valuing soft skills and emotional intelligence which can be developed from starting in a work environment earlier.

In some cases, you’ll be able to land your dream job without meeting all the requirements in the description if you have something else of value to offer the role, such as transferable skills from a previous job and live examples of how you can fulfil a role potentially even with a reference from your previous employer.

Luckily, 58% of leading employers value work experience over university grades. Let’s take the technology industry as an example. According to Laszlo Bock, former Google vice president of People Operation, technology firms are no longer concerned with hiring staff from prestigious universities and an increasing number of those entering the technical field do not have a degree at all.

Experience vs Education: What do we think at GRS Recruitment?

At GRS, we believe that both education and experience are beneficial for self-development and career progression in their own ways.  For some professions most certainly a university degree is compulsory such as to be a doctor or lawyer, however for professions and industries that are on the rise and that we recruit heavily for in Cyprus and Malta such as IT, Fintech, Crypto and Gaming we notice that employers are valuing experience over education. Indeed, internally we have also hired on this basis; our Director of Recruitment and Senior Finance Manager as examples, were hired due to their wealth of experience and soft skills, neither possessing a university degree. Both have been with the company 10 and 5 years respectively and have had multiple promotions and successes in their careers with us.

In this respect as a Recruitment Consultancy, we highlight the significance of experience where education is not a “real” requirement to our clients and will continue to do so throughout 2022.

The job market is evolving with the times and many employers are challenging old-fashioned ideals and embracing candidates from all backgrounds, whether they’ve graduated from top universities or not.

Are you looking for your next job move in Cyprus or Malta? Apply now! View a list of our Current Vacancies online or call to speak to a consultant:

Cyprus +357 25342720, Malta +356 2778066