46% of Ireland’s graduates are in jobs unrelated to their education/qualification according to new research. Experience more important than qualification for landing a job according to 46%. Matrix Recruitment Survey finds that 49% of graduates regret course choice.
29th July 2019: According to new research released today, almost half of Ireland’s graduates are in careers that are unrelated to their qualification and when it came to securing their current job, 46% said that experience was more important than their qualification. Only 13% of those who took part in the survey, which was undertaken by Matrix Recruitment to examine the correlation between third level education and career choice, said that their qualification alone was instrumental in landing the role.
49% regret third level course choice
According to the Matrix Recruitment Education Vs. Experience Survey, almost half (49%) of those with a third level qualification said that they wished they had chosen a different course. More than one in five (22%) would not recommend their course to someone looking to pursue a similar career.
Joanne Foley of Matrix Recruitment said that whilst some of the findings had been anticipated, many more were quite surprising. “Because there is a lot of movement within the jobs market, we expected that a high percentage of people might be in jobs unrelated to their qualification, and this turned out to be the case,” said Joanne.
However, when asked which was more important when it came to securing their current job, almost four times more respondents chose experience over a qualification, which was quite unexpected.
“This may be related to the stage these respondents have reached in their career as, generally speaking, the more years experience you have under your belt, the less emphasis an employer places on your qualification. Of course, there are exceptions to this, such as pharmacy, medicine and teaching, but many of our clients looking for the best candidates interrogate a CV or LinkedIn profile for relevant experience before looking at a qualification.”
However, Joanne was keen to point out that the findings shouldn’t undermine the importance of a qualification, particularly for professions such as law, accounting, HR and medicine. “With 41% of respondents ranking their qualification alongside experience when it came to landing their current role, a combination of the two really is the best option for job candidates,” said the recruitment expert.
54% want to return to college
Another unexpected finding was that more than half (54%) of respondents who claimed that they would like to return to college to pursue another career. While the findings are not conclusive as to why they would like to return to college, reasons offered were wanting to try something new and revising career goals. “The world of work has changed considerably,” said Joanne. “No longer is it about the secure, permanent and pensionable job. Younger generations are much more willing to explore new options, change the course of their career more than once and try new things – even if they don’t work out.”
Are third level modules fit for purpose?
According to the Matrix Recruitment Education Vs. Experience Survey, three quarters of third level graduates (73%) do not believe that their course sufficiently prepared them for the working world. 31% said that their course was too theoretical, while four in ten stated that while it was helpful, it did not properly prepare them for the rigours and demands of a day-to-day job.
“This is a worrying finding, as it shows that there may be a disconnect between the knowledge and skills being acquired at third level and what is actually needed at a more practical level in the workplace,” said Joanne Foley.
Most people (85%) believe that more emphasis should be placed on people skills and Joanne agrees. “Many of our survey respondents felt that third level courses should cover things such as emotional intelligence, communication skills, organisational psychology and project and time management skills. The findings are a clear signal from graduates that courses need to focus more on practical skills that can be taken into real-life working situations.” Joanne suggests that students should advance their career by working as much as is practicable during term and holiday time, to build up their CV and demonstrate experience of the working world.
“Approaching potential employers with a degree, complemented by work experience, will help make you a more attractive proposition to employers. You might have to work harder in college to balance assignments, projects and work experience, but I do believe that this approach will pay off in the long run,” Joanne concluded.
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