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"So where did you go to University...…?”

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“25 year old non-graduate with excellent market research experience and a proven track record seeks new role …..”

…and in my experience as a recruitment consultant of 20+ years, will have to keep looking.I can only comment on the sectors in which I work – market research – but I often see candidates like this who have all the experience and competence to do a job but come up against one of the big unspoken barriers in the workplace today – lack of a university qualification.

Although the country has made great strides in improving diversity in the workplace in many areas, legislation for non-grads isn’t in there. I recognize it would be difficult to apply but perhaps we should aim for a mindset change instead?).

The decision to go/not go to university is driven by many factors including family background, finance, lack of genuine interest in pursuing one subject in greater depth, but intelligence is not one of them. Many bright young people are weighing the value of spending 3/4/+ years studying for what may prove to be an indifferent degree and acquiring a large student debt against the option to find a job they like and start earning now.

In a market where most sectors are suffering from a lack of candidates, maybe clients could start to look at the person and judge them on experience, ability to do the job, and commitment – these are the real factors that should be driving the decision-making process for clients.

Bright candidates qualified by experience rather than academics could bring a new dynamic to a team and office. Many blue-chip firms recognize the potential in non-graduate talent with their Apprenticeships schemes. Could the market research sector perhaps apply a similar approach?