Education vs Experience - What Do Industries Prefer?

Understanding what employers are looking for can be tricky. Depending on what job you’re after, experience tends to be the most important trait a person can have. But then again, if you don’t have the appropriate grades and certifications, does this put you behind those candidates that do?

We’ve looked at the benefits of both for a range of different industries to determine whether there is a winner regarding better job success depending on what you possess most of;


Trade careers such as builders, plumbers and electricians are sought after and many people choose to pursue this career through the means of apprenticeships or gaining qualifications as they learn their trade.

Having the skills to problem solve and think outside the box are what make successful tradesmen, meaning the experience gained is invaluable to employers.

Financial Advisors

The finance industry is a hard one to crack - there are many different roads to take, all of which require certain qualifications. Although you can work to earn these as you go, the experience will be best gained through further education so if this is an industry in which you want to pursue a career, review your current qualifications and research those you may need to achieve your goals.

Art / Design

Creative flair is not a skill that can be taught; you’ve either got it or you haven’t. However, this isn’t to say there aren’t many advantages to studying this further in higher education as the refinement and software skills are crucial for development.

However, many design agencies invest in their teams and provide further training, while working to help develop to their standards and processes. Gaining experience in the industry and learning alongside others to hone skills can offer more to a prospective employer than just understanding the job in principal.

Medical Professions

As with careers in the legal sector, medical professionals must have qualifications gained via higher education before undertaking a role. Whether this is working with people or animals, the investment in further education is entirely necessary and therefore, no amount of experience will outweigh the crucial training and qualifications needed to work in a medical capacity.


As with many roles, the options to progress are dependent on qualifications, however for a career in Administration, experience in customer service, organisation and phone manner are not skills necessary to be taught in universities. Gaining experience and showing these traits within any working environment appeals to prospective employers and often lead to bigger opportunities.


The legal sector is one career move where learning entirely on the job isn’t possible, and any worthwhile employer in this industry wouldn’t employ someone without appropriate qualifications to take on certain positions. When dealing with cases that involve any legal dispute, the understanding of policies, laws and rights are all part of the role and experience can’t be gained without becoming fully qualified.

Focus On What You Do Have

As with all careers, there may be a time when additional training or the renewal of certifications is needed, and if you’re serious about your progression and development, you’ll undertake any necessary training.

However, it’s not always black and white when it comes to knowing what companies want, so be realistic. There are some professions where you need to understand the boundaries from a qualification perspective, and also where experience is necessary for candidates best suited for a particular role.

Aim to get a balance and show your commitment and hard work - whether you have a Masters degree or many years’ experience under your belt - and you’ll be sure to impress a possible new employer.

If you are looking for work in any of these professions Click Hereto see the range of jobs we can help place you in.