One of the main selling points for attending University and getting a degree used to be the idea that in the hunt for a job, having a degree would set you apart and place you as a ‘more desirable’ candidate than someone that didn’t have one. A degree was the golden ticket on the path into the wonderful world of working with employers snapping you up.
The question on whether or not a degree is needed for employment has been spoken about for many years now. After a decline in higher education attendance in the academic year 2012/13, rates have steadily risen again to match 2011/12's 49% of 17-30 year olds entering some form of higher education, according to the Department for Education. However, what we are seeing in job requirements from our clients suggests that University isn't necessarily the be all and end all.
Don't get me wrong, University is a great learning platform that can assist in building a valuable skill set, particularly in specialist areas (doctors, engineers, dentists). It’s also a wonderful way to develop skills from formative education years like being organised and prioritising tasks. As someone that attended university, I found that you grow as a person, learn to be independent, get used to meeting new people and make friends from different walks of life. It can broaden your views and can really shape you as a person.
But is it necessary for you to get a job? A trend I am noticing is that many fresh graduates are coming out of University looking to join the working world and build their career, yet falling at the first hurdle. Why may you ask? Not enough experience.
This isn’t true across all sectors, but in regards to the creative industries, it is clear that industry experience is invaluable and I certainly couldn't recommend it enough. A degree is handy as you then have some of the technical skills they are looking for, but if you can show experience in a real working environment it allows potential employers to see that you have seen how an agency or brand functions, what it means to be briefed in a work environment and that you have relevant, transferable skills.
I’m finding that yes, you do need to have some formal training in the field you want to enter, but to do it to a degree level isn’t always needed. If you have positive work experience an employer can already see that you can perform in a job role and on the job training is common practice.
If you are already at University it can be tough trying to juggle your workload, however, I would suggest you try and be proactive throughout your University experience, there are a whole host of amazing opportunities out there for work experience and internships like our Bhive programme. Any real life experience gained will show your tenacity, passion and determination to really go far in your career.