Hiring Based on Skills vs. a Degree

Hiring Based on Skills vs. a Degree

Choosing whether to hire based on skills vs a degree is a decision that employers often find themselves grappling with.

Both have their merits and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but there are pros to both. This article will outline these points and hopefully provide you with some guidance in navigating this decision.

The value of skills:

Relevance to the role:

If the skills required for the role you’re hiring for are technical and specific, hiring based on skills becomes essential. A candidate with hands-on experience in using these skills can hit the ground running – in turn reducing the time and costs associated with training.


Skills can demonstrate a candidate’s adaptability and ability to stay current in a field. Someone who has continuously upgraded their skills showcases a commitment to personal and professional growth – admirable qualities for any potential candidate.

Innovation and Problem-Solving:

In our experience, skills-focused hiring can bring innovative problem-solvers to your team. Having been in that field for some time, developing their skills, these candidates often have a deeper understanding of the industry’s challenges and have devised solutions to deal with them.

The Case for Degrees

Foundation of Knowledge:

Degrees often provide a solid foundation of knowledge that can be valuable in certain roles. Fields such as medicine, law and engineering typically require a strong educational background.

Analytical and Critical Thinking:

Throughout a degree, students are encouraged to develop their analytical and critical thinking skills. Graduates will therefore be better equipped to approach challenges strategically – analysing data before making an informed decision.

Transferable Skills:

While not role-specific, degrees provide candidates with a range of transferable skills such as research, communication and time management.

Industry Reputation:

In some industries, a degree from a reputable institution carries significant weight. It can reassure clients, partners, and stakeholders that your team includes individuals with a solid educational background – allowing you to maintain good, strong relationships.

Find a balance

Instead of viewing skills and degrees as an either-or choice, you can consider a balanced approach.

Evaluate the specific requirements of the role and determine whether a degree is necessary due to legal or industry standards.

If you’re looking for immediate job performance, it might be the case that skills are more critical.

Ultimately, the decision to hire based on skills or degrees depends on the position, your company’s values, and the industry landscape.

Be prepared to adapt your approach based on evolving trends and needs. Remember that a diverse workforce that brings a combination of skills, knowledge, and perspectives can lead to a well-rounded and innovative team – which is the end goal for us all really.

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