Workers Say Experience More Important than Education for Advancement

August 12, 2011 ( - More than three quarters of respondents around the world say experience is more important than education when it comes to advancing a person’s career.

Nearly 80% cite experience while 18% say formal education and 2% remain undecided, according to the latest survey from Kelly Services.  

The survey report, “The Evolving Workforce: Drivers of Career Choice and Career Progression,” says the “career-for-life” style is vanishing, with more than half (57%) of all respondents saying they expect to switch careers within the next five years. The main causes prompting change are the need for higher income, followed by better work-life balance, changing personal interests, concern that their industry is in decline, and current management issues.  

Other survey findings include: 

  • Across all regions, respondents from Generation Y are more willing to upgrade their skills/qualifications in order to progress their career (64%), followed by Generation X (60%), and Baby Boomers (55%).  
  • Both Generation Y and Generation X expect to change careers within the next five years (58%) compared to half of Baby Boomers having the same expectation.  
  • Nearly three-quarters of respondents (74%) believe that if they took time off from their career for reasons such as maternal/paternal leave, illness, etc., that they would be able to return to their careers at the same level.  
  • A majority of respondents (72%) say they aspire to an executive position.  


Kelly Services obtained the views of approximately 97,000 people in 30 countries covering the Americas, APAC and EMEA regions.  

The survey report is here.