Talent shortages are calling employers to reconsider traditional job requirements, such as a relevant university degree.
What does this mean for candidates and employers?
In Australia, fewer young people are engaged in full-time study and those not engaged in any study has increased too (ABS).
The recent HECS-HELP fee changes for Business and Communications degrees by 113% and 28% for domestic students will see a shift in the education of young people, especially in the marketing and advertising industries where these degrees are often required. The cost of a degree can be a deciding factor for many domestic students and their careers. However, there is opportunity for the industry to shift and encourage students to pursue non-traditional pathways after high school.
Arguably the best introduction to the marketing industry is through work. This is particularly useful for school leavers who cannot undertake university education. Those that start work after leaving school, learn trades, start their own business or undertake TAFE courses, will have hands-on and real world experience not offered in an academic setting making them excellent candidates.
In my experience, currently studying communications whilst working in the industry, I've learnt far more about best practices and business than through an academically focused degree. This is not to say university provides a less valuable experience but rather a different one, far removed from the realities of the industry.
If recruiters, hiring managers and industry leaders can start shifting culture and challenging unconscious bias toward candidates with degrees, there is huge opportunity to bring greater diversity to marketing.
The challenge is realising the benefit of candidates with other work experience and qualifications like TAFE. At the end of the day, credibility comes from the work ethic and attitude of young people not from a degree. Change takes time and I hope that greater equality of opportunity will be welcomed through the curiosity and open-mindedness of industry leaders and hiring managers.