Does Your Business Require a Degree for EVERY Role?

by | 16 Jun 2023

Home » News » Does Your Business Require a Degree for EVERY Role?

In today’s dynamic business landscape, the value of a university degree has been a subject of debate, particularly in the financial services sector. While some argue that a degree is indispensable for career advancement, others contend that practical experience and skills are equally valuable. So which is it?
As a specialist financial services recruiter, this is a question that often comes up when businesses are seeking to hire. So, we thought it an apt time to put our two cents in.

There is no denying that earning a university degree is a big feat, and one to be proud of. But while the power of having earnt your parchment is not to be undermined, it doesn’t mean that it is the only means of acquiring the necessary skills and experience for a role in the financial service and wealth management industry.

The importance of soft skills
Software company, Keap has noticed that by dropping degree requirements from job openings, they have gained access to workers without degrees, but with all the right skills.

“Take Bill Gates for example, he could not have gotten a job at Microsoft until about 2020, when they took out their degree requirements,” says Joseph Fuller, a professor at Harvard Business School, in his podcast on workforce trends. He also recommends employers de-emphasise “more school,” and instead focus on “more opportunity”.

Forbes reported that an average of 61% of employers now consider soft skills more important than hard skills in the workplace; this includes skills such as leadership, interpersonal skills, passion, enthusiasm, communication and willingness to learn.

Camilla Love from F3, agrees, noting that employers a now more prepared to consider applicants with transferable soft skills and teach them the hard skills of the job than hire purely based on their tertiary qualifications.

Moreover, in LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends report, 89% of recruiters say that when a hire doesn’t work out, it usually comes down to a lack of soft skills.

Alternatives to degrees
Education and experience takes many forms, and, with staffing shortages a common hurdle, many businesses have had to alter their expectations of applicants’ qualifications and reassess their hiring models in order to find the right people for a role.

While a degree was once considered a necessity for many roles, many employers are now more willing to consider those with alternative qualifications, such as short-courses or TAFE certificates and diplomas.

Valid experience vs education
Let’s say someone applies for a marketing manager role within your Superannuation firm. They don’t have a marketing degree nor any experience in the finance sector, but they do have extensive experience working with a digital agency where they created and implemented high-quality strategies for a range of clients. Additionally, they have their own personal share trading portfolio that has shown some strong results and skill.

While this may not meet the initial criteria of a marketing degree or degree in a relate field, they show the necessary soft skills and an ability to learn the technical skills of the role through on-the-job training.

Of course, there are many technical roles, such as accountants, analysts, auditors, financial advisors, and investment strategists that absolutely need to have a university degree due to the intricate nature of the roles and heavy compliance requirements.

However, there are many roles within the sector that may be more flexible in their educational requirements and more suitable for those with transferable skills such as:
•Business development
•Client services
•Project management
•Risk management
•Human resources
•IT and Fintech
•Secretarial and administration

Experience may be equally as valuable as a degree for roles such as these.
At the end of the day, the best managers don’t necessarily have a Masters degree and some junior staff may have more certifications than someone who has been in a role for decades, but that doesn’t mean they could do the job better.

While a university degree undoubtedly holds significance in the financial services sector, it is not always an absolute requirement for success. Embracing a balanced approach that combines academic achievements with the right soft skills and potential to grow will enable you to build a talented and diverse team capable of thriving in the ever-evolving financial services sector.

We encourage our clients to be open-minded and flexible when it comes to their qualification requirements to avoid missing out on a hiring a great employee purely for the lack of a degree.

Pin It on Pinterest