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Professional qualifications and work experience


New research claims that nearly a fifth of recent graduates would choose professional qualifications over a degree

Forget the university degree, according to new research announced today (date), a surprising 71 per cent of HR managers dismiss the notion that a degree is always worthwhile regardless of where or what you study. Further, over a half,  53 per cent, also claim that professional qualifications and work experience will help young people on their career path as much as or more than a degree.

HR managers’ views also appear to be endorsed by many recent graduates with nearly a fifth, 18 per cent, claiming that, given their time again, they would skip university altogether and opt instead for professional qualifications or on the job training.

The research was commissioned by The Marketers’ Forum amongst 100 HR managers, 100 marketing managers and alongside a sister study exploring the views of over 2000 recent graduates.

"Our new research sends a stark wake-up call to school leavers thinking about a career in marketing, management and business,” says Quentin Crowe, managing director of The Marketers’ Forum.

"Having been drip fed for years the myth that possession of a degree, in any subject and from any university, is the only way to get ahead in life, the reality seems to be that there are some serious alternatives to three years in higher education and a mountain of debt.”

Asked to consider the impact of professional qualifications on a CV, 48 per cent of HR managers thought that they signified ‘an above average commitment to the applicant’s career progression’; 47 per cent thought they signified ‘a determined individual’; and 37 per cent, ‘a well rounded professional’.  Just seven per cent thought that a professional qualification made ‘no difference’ at all.

Considering skills HR managers feel are most important when assessing candidates for recruitment or promotion, 63 per cent cited verbal communication skills such as those required for presentations, pitches or meetings; 59 per cent cited written business communications skills required for report writing or creating presentations, while 55 per cent cited principles and practice of business management functions.

In response to this and other research, The Marketers’ Forum is introducing a new course, Professional Marketing and Management for Business (PMMB) as alternative to university for individuals looking for a fast track, cost-effective head start into a rewarding career. Designed with direct input from business and delivered by leading industry practitioners, PMMB is accredited by the UK’s leading marketing and management awarding bodies, CIM, CAM and CMI and offers study options potentially to degree equivalent level in as little as two years.

"Our research shows very clearly that a degree takes second place to proven contact with employers, demonstrable business experience, and relevant professional qualifications,” said Quentin Crowe.

"Our advice is to think twice about university and explore other options first.”