Can you be over educated?

SchoolEach country has its own education process, in the UK whilst I was at school the leaving age was 16 after that it was up to the individual what would be their next step.

In my case I went to college for two years followed by another three years at university, by that point I was done with studying, not necessarily done with learning.  Others will seek to continue their studies with a MBA, PHD.

Having a degree was considered to be the crème de la crème but this was not the only way to begin your career. Not everyone excels in an academic environment, about 15 years ago there were alternative options to further education once you left school. Apprenticeships were becoming popular with the youth training schemes (YTS) to help young people learn and also earn a salary.

Moving to today’s employment world youth unemployment is high and there are limited opportunities for those not wanting to continue with their education beyond school. As one way to tackle this issue the government are increasing the compulsory education age from 16 to 18.

The introduction of tuition fees has not prevented many young people from studying towards a degree. Degrees still hold some kind of merit in the employment world and in some professions such as law and medicine is a must have.

How many young people actually know what career they want to have at the age of 18? Will the same career path they have planned out at such a young age be the same path they want to walk down once they have completed their studies? How many young people are choosing to go to university, pursue a degree in a subject they like simply because of the prestige giving to degree’s, because they do not know what type of job they would like to do or are even suited for?

My query; is the need to be academically intelligent hindering the next wave of employees?  Choosing to go onto higher education does teach individuals the importance of disciplining themselves to meet deadlines, work together in teams and memorise vast amounts of information to apply in exams and in theory apply in the real world. There are degrees that offer a year in industry but for those who don’t choose this or the option is not there, all they have is theoretical knowledge. This brings us onto the fight to get onto graduate schemes, finding internships that don’t exploit the individual to gain that all important work experience that prospective employers crave.  As the needs of employers are changing perhaps it is time the way young people are taught is adapted to these changes to better prepare them for their future careers. Books can only teach us so much, it is when we have to apply those theories to the world outside of books does the real learning begin.


5 thoughts on “Can you be over educated?

  1. This applies to me. Without blowing my own trumpet I graduated with a 1st my degree, then went on to do a full time MSc (Masters) and while doing that manage to do another degree, which then landed me where I am now doing a PhD part time. My story doesn’t end just there – as I have a successful career in healthcare since my MSc. Everyone is individual, it’s not necessarily important to have a high education to be successful as there are equal amount of people who have managed without further education. For me, in life, there needs to be challenges, I need to be doing something and routine type of stuff just doesn’t do it for me. If you want to be successful you need to push yourself.


    • I think everyone has different ways of pushing themselves and wanting to get to the ‘next level’. Academically I know my brain would zone out and not have the patience to commit myself, instead I choose to try different activities and try do well in them.


  2. I think the answer to the question you posed in the title of this post is that for some employers the answer is probably ‘yes’

    They may feel that the candidate is overly qualified for the position on offer and select against them because . . .

    a. they feel the applicant will soon get bored and/or is only applying for the job as a stop gap to earn some money while waiting for a better job opportunity to come along. In either case, they will soon leave and the company will have to go through the recruitment exercise a second time

    b. they may feel they’re own position may ultimately be under threat if they appoint someone who they consider overly qualified for a post – that in time, such an overly qualified person may feel they can do better than the manager of the company and seek to undermine/ usurp their position as boss


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