Graduate Or Years Experience? Study Reveals The Best Hiring Option For Your Business

  • A recent study by finds the true cost of employment for businesses
  • Nearly 40% of graduates first year put into training up to standard
  • Employees with 3 years experience demand a £11K increase in salary compared to grads

When searching for new employees, business owners face the dilemma of investing in the future with a graduate or playing it safe with an experienced candidate. In terms of salary, the difference is an obvious factor, but what other considerations should an employer take when upping their headcount. have researched 5 key job sectors including accountancy, technology, retail, advertising and legal to look at the often overlooked aspects of recruitment.

Getting Up to Speed

An employee with less experience means inevitably more time and resource devoted to training, but which sectors reach optimum productivity quickest?

  • Retail – Graduates in this sector take an average of 15.6 weeks to become efficient in their role, with their experienced colleagues only taking 6.4 weeks.
  • Media/Advertising – Like retail, this industry has a tendency to be somewhat more creative, with only 18.6 weeks of the first year devoted to training up to standard.
  • IT, Accountancy and Legal – IT and Accountancy sit slightly above the Legal sector with a settling in period of just over 21 weeks, while Law graduates take nearly half of their first year with 24 weeks.

Job Expectancy

The length of time someone is expected to stay in the job is a crucial factor. But how does it compare across different sectors and experience levels?

  • With an average salary of £38K, it’s unsurprising that Legal graduates stay put for longer than any other industry with 4.15 years on average.
  • Retail graduates boast the lowest ‘job expectancy’ with 2.9 years, with more experienced employees staying for an average of 5.2 years
  • Keeping graduates on board appears to be an industry-wide problem with experienced employees staying in the job for 3 years longer than graduates

With an average starting salary of £24k, the graduate option seems obvious from a financial perspective. But with these candidates likely to spend nearly 2.5 years less in the job, experienced employees may offer a business better long-term prospects.

Ian Wright from has stated that

‘Employees can offer so much to companies of any size, but it’s always important to consider the financial impact they have as well. Some business owners would rather train someone from scratch, almost like an investment, but the value of an experienced employee is that they can hit the ground running. While these are fairly obvious assumptions, it’s interesting to see the hard figures and how it varies across different industries.’

So if you’re struggling to decide on a suitable candidate for your business, you can view the  full breakdown and see how different key industries contrast here

Related Articles