Marketing qualifications - what value do they have today?

Marketing qualification graduation

Marketing qualifications - what value do they have today?

Karen Lloyd candidate, job search, Career...

A recent survey reported in HR News found that more than 44% of employers value experience over formal qualifications, whether a degree or a professional qualification.

Working with a wide variety of employers, both B2B and B2C, we see a polarity of views as to whether a marketing qualification is an essential requirement in new hires.  The pace of change in marketing can be like lightening, which leads to very valid questions over whether degree or professional programmes can keep up with what is happening in the industry.

B2B Marketing and Qualifications

In B2B, it is not uncommon to find employers requesting either a marketing degree or professional marketing qualification as desirable criteria when they recruit new marketing hires. When it comes down to the crunch however, if a candidate has all the required skills and experience, it is unlikely they will not refuse to hire them because they lack a qualification. 
Some sectors such as professional services tend to prefer their marketing teams to have a formal marketing qualification, whereas others such as tech and regulated industries place more value on experience that is relevant to their sectors.  This becomes more prevalent, the more senior you become.

Whilst having a qualification isn’t essential in a B2B environment, it does have an impact on your earning potential.  B2B Marketing’s 2018 Salary Survey found that whilst qualifications weren’t always essential, those marketers with qualifications do tend to earn more than those without. 

B2C Marketing and Qualifications

B2C places less emphasis on qualifications than B2B, with over half of marketers lacking any type of professional or academic marketing qualification.  The question over the practical usefulness of a qualification in your day to day marketing job is highlighted in Marketing Week’s 2019 Salary Survey.  32.2% of respondents stated their marketing degree was very useful and 35.9% found a professional qualification such as those from CIM very useful.

In essence, many marketers find a qualification more useful in the early part of their careers, providing a strong theoretical grounding and frame of reference on which to build their experience.  However, with more marketers coming into the industry from different backgrounds such as data or performance marketers, the importance of a basic qualification is likely to lessen over time.  

That isn’t to say that qualifications and training aren’t beneficial through your career, particularly those where you can acquire new skills, particularly in the digital arena to keep your knowledge up to date with the latest advancements.