The debate about the importance to jobseekers of
qualifications relative to other factors - such as specific on-the-job
experience or 'soft skills' - is likely one that will never be fully resolved.
That said, there are certain science sectors in which an attitude can prevail
among graduates that expertise gained from an academic qualification will
almost always win out over other considerations.
A trickier question
than it may seem
We will not spend this piece trying to come up with a
definitive answer on how crucial the right qualifications really are for
organisations seeking the right staff for hotly contested science jobs in
pharmaceutical, biochemistry, engineering and similar fields. After all,
opinions vary too widely among even our own highly specialised employer base
here at the influential science recruitment agency Hyper Recruitment Solutions.
Nonetheless, it is still possible to map out the rough
'state of play' on this vital debate that could help to shape your future
career decisions and use of science recruitment services like ours.
Qualifications are necessary
- but how necessary?
First of all, let's disavow the notion that in such a highly
specialised part of the economy like science, qualifications can be dismissed in
terms of their importance. According to a study of the graduate labour market
by the University of Warwick and the Higher Education Careers Service Unit
in possession of first-class degrees are nearly twice as likely to be in
employment as those with lower classifications.
Few working in science recruitment will be surprised by that
finding - after all, amid extremely intense competition for the most desirable
roles, qualifications provide a seemingly objective and quantifiable metric on
which to begin sifting the very best from those who will merely 'do a job'.
That said, in a world in which it is
certainly not unheard-of for candidates to exaggerate or outright lie on their
CVs, other factors must come into play, even when the number of
applications received by a science employer for a given vacancy is not
There's plenty of
scope to make yourself stand out
Even when confronted with what may seem like insurmountable
odds, there are still powerful ways to get your application noticed - indeed,
the magic may not be in the application at all. 'Soft skills' or 'transferrable
skills', such as an ability to communicate in an engaging manner, will
certainly help to win favour among employers and recruitment consultants. This
is one reason why you show a proactive and professional attitude to any science
Remember that the most intelligent and academically
qualified candidates are so often not those
that get ahead, due to lacking a determination to adapt themselves to the wider,
often less glamorous requirements of the role and simply be an inspiring
and supportive leader in the workplace.
Even across the many hugely varied roles that can be found
across science, the fundamental traits required for success - including
commitment, a good manner, a good attitude and work ethic and the appropriate
'soft skills' like communication - remain insightfully consistent.
It's one more reason to never be too despondent about your
hunt for science jobs through an agency like Hyper Recruitment Solutions, not
least given the
hands-on and extensive career help that, like all good recruitment
agencies, we are happy to provide you with free of charge.