Youth Careers Personal Development EQ
Is a qualification ever too much?
19th Aug 2013 at 7:41 pm #4540
When I was in standard 6 (grade 8) I remember pretending I didn’t know the answer to a question the teacher was asking. We were being tested to choose a team for an inter-school quiz contest and I had already qualified for the team – and there was a young boy who needed some extra points to qualify.
I was reminded of this recently while watching Sky news interview young people who had just received their school leaving results. A few of the students seemed to be choosing an apprenticeship – rather than go on to university – even though their results allowed that course.
Given the levels of youth unemployment – including graduate unemployment – not only in South Africa but also internationally, it leads me to ask: is a further qualification sometimes too much?
There are times when job applicants are refused a job because they are too qualified. Is it better to just get a job rather than pursue another qualification?
Do applicants sometimes hide what they know and have qualified for?
Does this differ across sectors? Do some sectors require/prefer unskilled lower paid workers?
Is a young person with an apprenticeship more likely to gain employment than with a tertiary qualification?
20th Aug 2013 at 7:10 am #4549
You raised a very important issue which affect me personally. I have been told many a time that I was over-qualified. I requested many a time for people to define or qualify over-qualification. This happened even in senior positions. Later you happen to find out about the person that have been employed, you realise that the person is below the minimum requirement of the job.. I have been advised to hide some of my qualifications when applying but refused. How do I hide the qualoifications that I have worked so hard for. Actually, this is dissapointing.
The bar has been raised so low that excellence is not encouraged and celebrated but mediocrity is celebrated and promoted.
20th Aug 2013 at 7:49 am #4548
Yes – sometimes a qualification is too much.
There are times that to do the job well requires more hands on experience then study of the ins and outs of the theory behind the job, and unfortunately most qualifications are theory predominant. That’s the one side of the coin…
The other side is what you mention about being over qualified – I have this problem now where I have to not disclose some of my qualifications as I would be higher qualified then some potential employers.
As an employer myself, I would much rather have someone with practical experience and proven ability to do the job then someone with a qualification that involved a lot of study and “out of touch with reality” expectations that are taught so much at higher institutions.
20th Aug 2013 at 8:08 am #4547
This is very interesting. There was a time when people placed emphasis on excellence in working, then qualification as a cherry on top. Then came an era where people place qualification first, performance last, as if a qualification will produce results. As a result, you find a lot of non-productive graduates.
20th Aug 2013 at 8:22 am #4546
Unfortunately there are so many people who believe education is the bee all and end all – in particular a university degree. Sure it is important but I firmly believe that it is more important to gain practical workplace experience and then add to the combination of education and experience.
The other factor of course is that so many of our young people have no idea of what they want to do in life, they have no plan and no career path mapped out. The result is they become professional learners in the hope one day they will be scooped up by some company because of all the education and degrees. Learnerships I feel have added to this problem particularly with the unemployed learners.
In response to one of the questions posed I have found that companies are very shallow in their approach to experienced people and fails to realise what and over experienced person has to offer and share with others. It also comes down to the fear of the person who is more experienced and educated than the person conducting the interview.
20th Aug 2013 at 9:00 am #4545
Scary thoughts Sylvia. A topic we wish we didn’t have to think about.
I don’t know the answers, but I was recently lecturing HR students at 3rd-year university level. We were discussing recruitment. While for the rest of the course I tried to bring in the realities of the workplace, this wasn’t a time for too much reality–just enough to encourage them to work hard and differentiate themselves; not enough to depress them.
20th Aug 2013 at 10:17 am #4544
20th Aug 2013 at 10:38 am #4543
It occurs to me that we are still not addressing careers and qualifications at an earlier stage. Looking at where your talents lie the last one or two years of school is simply not enough. I have spoken to a few people in the USA (I am under correction with this if you know more) it seems that by high school there are already vocational subjects that may already be tackled in preparation for a career direction. We also still do not seem to prepare scholars for LIFE, there are still too many subjects that are by rote learning and critical thinking skills are ignored. There is a trend that learning a trade is looked down upon. I know of one or two people who are earning more by being plumbers and carpenters post their University degrees that simply did not deliver a career. There also seems to be a lack of help from the Universities and Business arena while people are studying with regards to what opportunities their degrees might lend.
21st Aug 2013 at 11:26 am #4542
The cause is the companies looking for the talent witohout the cost – also called “bottom feeders” in the marine world.
Companies that try use internships to get workers at half price. Then they usually preffer to employ a new intern than to promote the previous one.
So firstly – be very, very careful of learnerships, internships, and other similar roles because they may ruin your career!
One cause of this is that there is a growing number of small consulting firms and small businesses that hang purely on a few well off clients for their services. These companies live off low dwindling number of clients and survive off small profit margins. They can never really grow in order that their staff can grow.
Thats one point. Another is, is that grobally the world is in a recession where unemployment rates are high all over, this drives down the cost of labour and in turn the quality of living for the labourers are decreasing.
The labour market is flooded by panic and desperation – the cause is a lower preception of value in general and the confirmed attitude of “it’s easy to replace anyone in the company with a new person for less”.
It’s an interesting examination – how many careers in south africa have completely dissapeared recently?
There was once career in nuclear physics in South Africa. Now all the nuclear physisists are elsewhere in the world or reduced to lecturers by market forces.
Not surprisingly, there are fewer and fewer students taking up physics in university and school – young people are not dumb and can see what is going on around them.
6th Nov 2013 at 4:03 am #4541
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