Skills vs. Degrees: Which is More Important?


Is university still worthwhile in light of rising tuition costs and the alleged ‘decreased value’ of degrees? Or does developing skills outside of the classroom increase your chances of getting hired?

Are skills more important than qualifications?

In a recent survey, it was discovered that 67 percent of recruiters overall gave a candidate’s skills and experience a higher priority than their academic credentials. Plus, eight out of ten businesses have their own in-house upskilling programs for employees, showing how much they value skills and experience over academic credentials.

Has technology made having a degree pointless?

However, in today’s world, with rapidly evolving technologies like artificial intelligence and big data analytics, the knowledge you gain in college will almost certainly be obsolete and unusable within 5 to 10 years. In addition, employers are coming to terms with the fact that a four-year degree may not adequately prepare a person for the realities of a technology-driven future. To combat this, workers must acquire the flexibility to update their expertise as the economy evolves. This is why practical experience is often preferable to academic credentialing.

Benefits of Degrees:

Simply put, it proves your authenticity.

The curriculum vitae (CV) is the only link between you and the employer during the application process. The most prominent part of a resume or CV is always the educational background. Plus, because of the proliferation of digital technologies, there are now countless online learning options available to anyone interested in furthering their education. So there’s no excuse not to improve your CV by working through an online degree, or even just freely available degree courses.Your prospective employer will want assurance that you possess the skills and expertise necessary to succeed in their organization, and this is the best way to do it.

Credentials earn you respect from other people.

People are more likely to want to collaborate with you if a reputable organization employs you. For instance, customers are always curious about the team member who will be assisting them. Imagine you work for a financial firm. Customers care first and foremost about your level of education. It helps them have more faith in your abilities. That’s just the way things go in this modern world. More consumers will be interested in doing business with you if you have prestigious academic credentials, such as a master’s degree with a specialization from an elite university.

You’ll be able to speed up your career advancement.

Acquiring a degree makes the learning process much more straightforward. Since you are well-versed in the fundamentals, all you have to do is put in the time, and you’ll help bring in a lot of money. You will quickly rise through the ranks to management positions. Additionally, you should consider that lack of professional growth and advancement and a lack of new experiences can have negative effects on one’s health.

In short, it boosts your self-assurance.

Being well-versed in a topic increases your self-assurance. With a degree under your belt, you can confidently answer any and all questions from potential employers. Moreover, working in an organization will put your degree to good use as you apply the skills you’ve learned there. If you have a clear picture of the company’s strengths and weaknesses, you can better address those issues. Plus, it would make it easier to follow along with meetings and not miss anything important. You can offer them a lot of insight thanks to your extensive experience.

Benefits of Skills:

Your skills show who you are.

In contrast to a degree, skills cannot be measured. Your output is the only way for others to witness them. That said, many college grads will boast that they can transform an organization, but only those with real-world experience will actually succeed. Therefore, it is sometimes irrelevant whether or not you completed your formal education. The ability to complete tasks with a little bit of flair and personality is what counts.

Your Knowledge and Ability Gives You Freedom

In order to launch a company, formal education is not required. Skills allow you to do more on your own, which is arguably the most important benefit they provide. Then you can start making a name for yourself whenever you like. You will have a firm grasp on where to look for information, how to identify potential investors, when to introduce your product to the market, and how to set yourself apart from the competition. Then, you can use your talents to assemble a multifaceted team that can help you reach new heights of success.

Being Skilled Allows You to Stand Out

Invention, originality, and persuasiveness are not skills that can be taught in a classroom. You just kind of pick it up on your own. This is because, most often, learning occurs in response to the situations one is exposed to. Perhaps you picked up these abilities due to an interest in the business world. Employees who can charm and captivate clients at work are highly valued by their employers. After all, happy customers are the key to a successful business. If you can’t entice your customer base, it won’t matter how many degrees you have. People won’t want to collaborate with you just because of the degrees you hold.

What about soft skills? Are they more important than a degree?

Workers must acquire the flexibility to update their expertise as the economy evolves. Consequently, practical experience is more valuable than formal education. Skills, whether technical or interpersonal, are universally useful and applicable in any field or profession.A few examples of soft skills are:

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving

These are always in demand, so developing them is a good investment. Learning by doing and accumulating real-world skills in your field of study will better equip you for the challenges you’ll face once you enter the workforce.

Can you learn skills at university?

Some would argue that being at university is a fantastic place to learn these abilities, though. For example, participating in extracurricular activities at your school is a great way to put what you’re learning in the classroom to use in the real world. Plus, meeting new people and working in teams is great for building interpersonal, organizational, and managerial abilities. The knowledge and abilities you gain at university, both in and out of the classroom, are invaluable no matter what career path you choose.

Do most jobs require a degree?

The fact remains, however, that many companies insist on four-year degrees despite the fact that many people now view this practice as archaic and a cover for bias. While 75% of open positions require a bachelor’s degree, only 40% of applicants actually hold one.

Do employers care about degrees?

Keep in mind that you need to have the skills that are in high demand in the business world. You can prove you have those skills by showing off your degree.The reality is that if it means filling the position with the best possible candidate, many companies are willing to wait longer for that person who has a college degree to come along. What this means is that often your degree is important to your future career, and you should treat it as such.While it’s fantastic that more people are able to attend college, the one drawback is that competition for jobs is fiercer than ever. Plus, with more people armed with college diplomas, having one is no longer enough to set you apart from the pack.In other words, given that nearly half of today’s youth enroll in college, it’s safe to say that a diploma won’t automatically lead to employment.But that doesn’t mean a degree is worthless. As we discussed before, having a degree is often a requirement for job postings, even if they aren’t for graduate-level positions. And it’s hard to argue against the fact that a first-class grade in any subject will look good to potential employers.What we mean is that you shouldn’t go to college under the false impression that obtaining a degree will automatically make you more employable.

Are degrees worth it?

For current students and recent grads, the good news is that a higher salary is one of the common outcomes of higher educationStudies, such as one from HESA (the Higher Education Statistics Agency) and the University of Warwick, have shown that graduates earn more than their non-graduate counterparts on average.


In the world of work, it often seems you need both a degree and some skills to get by. Despite the fact that your skills may set you apart, a degree is still necessary to make it easy for potential employers to put you on the shortlist. When trying to make it in today’s economy, it’s best to make the most of everything at your disposal. For many, the first step is to get a degree, and then you can focus on honing your skills. Nothing is impossible if you put in the effort. Put simply, your education is often the foundation, and your experience is the polish that makes your education shine. Combined together, you’re an ideal employee for any firm.