Experience better than grades, employer survey says

Relevant work experience is more valued than qualifications when firms are looking to recruit new staff, a survey of 2,000 employers in Wales has found.

Almost two thirds (63%) said they regarded experience as significant or critical but fewer than four in 10 (39%) provided placement opportunities.

The findings have prompted calls for firms to offer more work experience.

Wales’ commissioner for employment and skills said this would help companies to find good recruits.

Scott Waddington said: “Clearly, employers feel more comfortable hiring those who have some experience of their industry or job type so extending more opportunities to young people in education will help match the right people to the right jobs.”

He was reacting to the Welsh findings of a survey carried out by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) as part of a wider study involving 18,000 UK employers.

  • 63% noted relevant work experience to be critical or significant
  • 52% said having GCSE maths and English was a critical or significant attribute
  • 47% said they looked for vocational qualifications
  • 42% looked for academic qualifications

Source: Employer Perspectives Survey 2014 – Wales data

The Employer Perspectives Survey, carried out every two years, gauges employer views and experiences across a wide range of workforce issues, including patterns of recruitment, investment in training and work experience.

Two thirds of Welsh employers (67%) said they provided staff training with 13% currently offering formal apprenticeships and 29% said they plan to offer formal apprenticeships in the future.

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