Every summer during graduation season, a topic always sparks debate: for graduates about to enter the workforce, which is more important: degree VS skill?
From the perspective of HR in a hiring company, they tend to lean towards the degree as more important than skill. Many companies, although not explicitly stated, actually have strict requirements for education.
As a result, some job advertisements specify, “Graduates from non-Ivy League schools please don’t apply.” While this reflects reality, it carries a hint of a degree discrimination.
From the perspective of graduates, the mainstream view is that the skill is more important. Elite school graduates, confident in their skills, generally agree with this point of view; for graduates from ordinary colleges, individual skill is their only competitive advantage against elite school graduates, so they agree even more with this view.
Degree or skill, which is more important is a difficult question to answer. In many cases, degree and skill are complementary. A degree is a manifestation of skill, and skill requires the support of a degree.
We need to understand that degree and skill are essentially different concepts. A degree is a certification obtained by completing a certain level of education and obtaining the corresponding degree or certificate; skill refers to the ability a person has to complete a particular job or task.
In other words, a degree is the accumulation of knowledge and skills a person has learned, while skill is the application of these knowledge in practical work.
When Should Degree Be Considered More Important Than Skill? During Job Applications and Recruitment
A degree is a testament to your past abilities. HR will judge your future based on your past. The degree itself represents a certain level of your ability, at least in terms of test performance, and may also represent your other abilities such as self-discipline, diligence, and intelligence.
With a high level of degree, you have the qualifications to enter into certain companies and job positions.
On the other hand, if you do not have a certain level of education, you may not even have the opportunity to showcase your skills, or you may only be able to showcase your abilities on a low-level platform. Since HR and employers are busy, how do they have the time and opportunity to give you to prove your abilities?
That is why many companies have educational requirements in their job advertisements.
When hiring, it is understandable for companies to set educational restrictions when they don’t know the specific skill an applicant has. Because if you have the skill, you can easily obtain any desired degree. If you can’t even get an ordinary degree, how to prove your ability? At least degree is a proof of your ability.
Companies Need To Control Recruitment Costs And Occupational Risks
Considering the cost and time required to recruit and train a new employee, HR may prioritize those with higher education because they tend to believe that people with higher education have higher skills and can generate more profit for the company.
These individuals are often able to adapt more quickly to new jobs, complete tasks, and contribute more to the company. This is to protect the company’s investment in employee training.
In addition, some educational restrictions are related to occupational risks. Some industries, such as medicine and law, require employees to have higher education (such as postgraduates and Ph.D. students) and relevant certificates. This is to ensure that practitioners can truly master and practice professional skills and ensure the quality and safety of their work.
Considering The Long-Term Development Of The Company
HR also needs to consider the long-term development of the company, which depends on the company’s talent pool. Therefore, they place importance on both degree and skill.
However, skills are hard to be confirmed in an interview (many senior executives may not have met lower-level staff, let alone know what they have done or how capable they are), but a degree can effectively help reduce the probability of making mistakes in hiring.
Theoretically, a good education represents better educational conditions, broader perspectives, and more outstanding students. Colleges or Universities have already conducted a rough screening process for the company, eliminating candidates through one or even multiple rounds.
When Should Skill Be Prioritized Than Degree? In Work
Once you join a company after being hired, if your skill is not sufficient to handle upcoming work tasks, the company will dismiss you. At this point, the company needs your problem-solving ability, not your impressive degree.
Thus, degree or skill, which is more important, depends on the stage of comparison.
In career development, relying solely on your degree is not enough. The improvement of your skill is more important, which may require continuous learning and practice at work.
In conclusion, your degree is a stepping stone for your career. For those who are going to graduate and have not yet produced any work or project achievements, a college degree is crucial.
However, when you have work samples and project experience after working years, interviews will focus more on your practical project process and ability to handle work tasks.
For students who are still studying, work hard and aim for a good university to raise your education level. For those who have passed the age of schooling and know that their education is lacking, don’t be too entangled.
First, accept the reality. The past cannot be changed, so focus on your work, accumulate more project experience, and enhance your abilities. It’s okay if you face cold treatment in the workplace due to your degree as it’s a normal response. There’s no need to fight back, just do your job well and plan your own development path.
You can also understand it this way: if you have a high level of education, then a degree is more important for you. If you have a high level of skill, then skill is more important for you. When competing in a job, it is essential to capitalize on your strengths and avoid your weaknesses. As you know, competing with others based on your weaknesses is not smart.
The future is long, degree or skill, which is more important? Lifelong learning is the most important.