How Much Education Do Your Employees Need?

Your workforce is the lifeblood of your business, and therefore, you have to make sure you hire the right employees.


One of the main considerations you need to make when you are hiring new employees is academic qualifications. Depending on which industry you are in, it may not be easy for you to find people who have the exact academic qualifications required to fill certain positions in your company.

As such, you may find yourself having to hire under-qualified or over-qualified people.

So, where do you draw the line when it comes to the educational backgrounds of your employees?

Set Academic Requirements According to Positions

Different positions require different academic qualifications.

If you are hiring an executive or manager, it is best that you choose someone who has a master’s or bachelor’s degree. On the other hand, if you need a general office clerk, you can hire someone with a high school diploma. There may also be positions in your company that require specialized skills.

Depending on the skill levels required for those positions, you need to select candidates who have a vocational or technical school diploma or college degree in the appropriate fields.

For certain positions, work experience may matter more than academic qualifications.

Should You Hire Under-Qualified Employees?

Hiring under-qualified employees has its advantages and disadvantages.

It is a good idea to hire under-qualified employees if you have a tight budget, because such employees usually do not demand high salaries. Additionally, under-qualified employees are less likely to have strongly ingrained work habits, making it easier for you to assimilate them into your company culture. They also know that you are taking a risk by hiring them, so they may try harder not to disappoint you.

If you need employees who can contribute immediately, hiring under-qualified people may not be a good solution, especially if it involves careers requiring a business degree.

Under-qualified employees may need training before they can perform their duties satisfactorily. Also, they generally have lower upward mobility than employees with higher academic qualifications.

If you are planning to hire under-qualified employees, make sure they have the skills, traits and talents needed to excel in their positions.

What About Hiring Overqualified People?

Overqualified employees can bring a wealth of knowledge to your business, and they can be a valuable asset right away. They can also encourage healthy competition and serve as a source of inspiration for other employees.

However, employees who are overqualified expect higher pay, and they are likelier to switch jobs when better opportunities arise. Also, they may lose motivation if they find that their jobs are not challenging enough.

There are a number of things you can do to keep overqualified employees satisfied and happy, and these include finding ways to utilize their expertise, giving them interesting challenges regularly and making them feel respected and valued.

While educational background is an important consideration during the hiring process, you should also look at the candidates’ work experience, references, skills, traits and personalities to determine their suitability.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from small business management to education.