How much more employable are postgraduates?

by 01 Oct 2009

Postgraduates, masters and MBAs are seldom a prerequisite when applying for a HR role; however those candidates who have these extra qualifications are at a definite advantage, say HR recruiters

As a result of the economic down turn many HR professionals have de cided on or are considering using the quiet time as a chance to return to study. But the question of how much more employ able an MBA or masters is going to make you remains.

According to HR recruiters, postgrad uate studies will help an HR practitioner attain a position more easily, particularly at a higher level – but an MBA, masters or postgraduate in a well-known university is not the only and best option.

“We haven’t had a client list such qual ifications as a prerequisite,” said Emma Egan, manager, Hays Human Resources. “The only instance in which such a quali fication is beneficial in securing a HR role is to differentiate two candidates with oth erwise equal skills and experience.”

According to David Owens, manag ing director of HR Partners, having these extra qualifications not only shows ex pertise in a certain area, but also demon strates the candidate’s willingness and de termination to learn and improve their skill set. This is part and parcel of what Owens describes as the “tier mentality” within many organisations.

“A lot of the senior people in organisa tions have done an MBA,” he said. “So if they’re interviewing a potential HR direc tor who has an MBA, that candidate will come across as having the same interest in their personal development as they do. There is often a tier mentality: that if the CEO and CFO have an MBA, if the HR director does too, they will fit right in.”

For this reason, online and remote learn ing should not be ruled out, said Owens. It displays, he said, self determination and demonstrates the candidates’ motivation.

“Getting an MBA through distance learn ing takes a lot of motivation and discipline and I personally have respect for people who tough it out through distance learning,” said Owens. “It generates equal respect among those who are assessing the candidates.

Other avenues such as joining a pro fessional body are also recommended by recruiters as alternative to an MBA or postgraduate course.

“We’d suggest membership of a pro fessional body as most beneficial to an HR professional’s career long term,” said Egan. “Members receive regular updates, and remain in touch with industry and market trends. Members can see what their com petitors are doing and ensure they bench mark against best practices.”


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