Your parents might have spent years persuading you of the value of an education, but when it comes to actually scoring a job, it seems most Australians believe that on-the-job training matters far more than your qualifications. Is that wise?
Picture by Helena Liu
The Global Workforce Index from Kelly Services surveyed 97,000 people across the world about career development trends, including 4,334 in Australia. A hefty proportion of those Australians apparently haven't found their formal qualifications so handy once they've hit the workplace. 86 per cent of those surveyed said that experience had been the major driver in their career development, while just 12 per cent said that formal education was a bigger driver.
That doesn't mean people want to ditch their qualifications; 95 per cent still said they considered them important. The most obvious way to reconcile those two findings would seem to be that you often need a qualification to get a foot in the door, but once that has happened, your own performance and experience count for much more. Or as Kelly Services MD Karen Colfer put it in the press announcement:
While formal education forms the base of a career, as employees progress in their career life-cycle and gain real world skills and experience the emphasis on formal education reduces proportionally.
Those figures cover jobs of all kinds, not just working in IT (which is our particular focus here at Evolve). On that front, the good news is that you're slightly less likely to find yourself unexpectedly changing jobs. In Australia, the industries with the greatest expectation of career change were tourism and leisure (63 per cent), hospitality (58 per cent) and utilities and education (both with 57 per cent).
The other interesting finding from the study is what people believe influences whether they get hired. Previous experience was the top pick (64 per cent), followed by performance in interviews (22 per cent) and references (10 per cent). Education again got the short end of the stick, being picked by just 4 per cent.
Of course, those figures are based on asking employees, not employers, so they might not represent the last word on the subject. How important has education been in your career path? Share your experience in the comments.
Evolve is a weekly column at Lifehacker looking at trends and technologies IT workers need to know about to stay employed and improve their careers.