Lee Ridoutt, Chris Selby Smith, Kevin Hummel, Christina Cheang look at how employers value and use qualifications in their business decisions. Their research indicates clear differences in the value placed on and use made of qualifications by employers for different groups of workers and occupations. Qualifications are considered more important for higher-level occupations and employers use them predominantly to recruit new employees and to ensure regulatory compliance. Employers regard qualifications as a signal of potential for future learning and skills acquisition, not as a signal of immediate competence.
Overall, employers drew a strong distinction between qualifications and experience, and favoured and valued the latter more in regard to many of their business decisions. The higher the level of enterprise change and innovation, the lower the level of value and use made of qualifications by employers. Also, small enterprises are more likely to be highly discriminating of qualifications and supporting development among their employees.