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Are Qualifications Worth More Than Experience?

(Updated: 19 February 2024)

In the field of credit scoring and vetting, we are often asked to verify the authenticity of an individual’s qualifications and background information as part of the on-boarding process. As such, we thought we would explore the age-old question when it comes to talent acquisition “Are qualifications worth more than experience?”.

It has been suggested by various talent acquisition experts that qualifications are vitally important for the overall understanding and success of a particular role. However, other industry experts feel that experience is key. Let us explore the merits of both qualifications and experience and see how you can find the right balance when coming to your on-boarding processes.


Qualifications by definition is the “official completion of a course or exam, especially one conferring status as a recognized practitioner of a profession or activity.” Therefore, anyone who receives a qualification, whether earned through recognised educational institutions, serve as an official acknowledgment of an individual’s knowledge and skills within a particular field.

What are the advantages of qualifications:

  • Credibility: Qualifications from reputable institutions undergo strict standards and quality benchmarks, making them trusted and valued by industry professionals or employers. Obtaining a qualification from a regulated institution provides credibility and enhances eligibility for securing desirable job opportunities.
  • Compliance and Regulations: Regulated qualifications undergo rigorous quality assurance in order to meet industry standards and requirements. As such, these qualifications are highly valued by industry professionals or employers.
  • Standardised Curriculum: Regulated institutions generally follow a standardised curriculum and assessment process, which ensures consistency in education across the board and provides equal opportunity for those competing for a job or career advancement.
  • Competitive Edge: Earning desirable qualifications can give job seekers a competitive advantage in the marketplace over those who do not. Holding a regulated qualification also signals to employers that you are open to skill advancements through continual learning.


When we refer to experience, we are referring to the practical, on-the-job knowledge and skills that have been acquired by working for an organization or company for a period of time for a particular position. However, there is a big difference between individuals who have 1 year of working experience vs an individual with a decade or working experience.

How experience can be invaluable in the workplace:

  • Practical Application: Experience allows individuals to apply hands-on knowledge to real-world scenarios, thus allowing them to learn and adapt to various challenges more effectively. This can make candidates appear better equipped to handle certain aspects or demands of a role compared to those with minimal to no experience.
  • Adaptability: Experience promotes adaptability and resilience, as it allows skilled individuals to assess and navigate through complex challenges with ease.
  • Advancement in Skills: Practical and hands-on experience often leads to the advancement of skills that were not fully reached through academic study.
  • Valuable Insights: Experience gives individuals a deep understanding of an industry’s dynamics, making them more aware of recurring trends, challenges, and shortcomings, essentially equipping them to make more informed decisions.
  • Network Building: A working individual is in a unique position to engage, manage, and grow professional networks, connecting with like-minded individuals, and establishing mentorships that will nourish growth opportunities.

The Difference

The debate between qualification vs experience varies across industry sectors. There are certain industries that hold qualifications in high regard and are necessary for the proper execution of those positions. For example, you would feel more confident going to a licensed, qualified, and board-certified doctor vs a person who read a book about human anatomy.

The same could be said for industries that prefer experience over qualifications as it requires more of a hands-on approach, with on-the-go learning. For example, an entrepreneur with a clear understanding of business and the industry they are working in, would more likely succeed vs a person just out of school.

Finding a Blend for Success

In reality, neither side can exist in isolation, with the modern workplace needing to evaluate the strengths of both and how they, together, can benefit the business as a whole. Rather than viewing experience and qualifications as two opposing forces, consider them complimentary pillars of professional development.

So, whether you are a college or university graduate starting your professional journey or a seasoned worker contemplating new opportunities, it is important for individuals not to limit themselves to an either / or proposition and instead strive for the right balance between continual learning and practical application.

How We can Help You

Hiring the right person for the job can be a daunting task. With MarisIT’s academic and matric verification and qualification services, you can easily confirm the authenticity of your potential candidates’ qualifications and work background with a click of a button.

Streamline your on boarding processes today.

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