Is Sector Specific Experience Overrated
Is sector specific work experience over valued – can you jump from working in hospitality to the legal profession?
Is it easy to switch from the building homes in the construction industry to become a smooth operator in finance? Probably not.
Some sector specific jobs require at least a few years spent at university or a good deal of experience and on the job training.
Sectors like finance, law, and healthcare, however, are the exception rather than the rule. A large number of white collar employment sectors are a lot more interchangeable than many people think.
There can certainly be experience and a bunch of skills developed in one sector that is perfectly suitable for another.
If you’re a reasonably intelligent individual, you should be able to pick up the jargon and nuances of the new business in a fairly short period of time.
The truth is that most sector specific experience is pretty much overrated.
Many businesses are missing out on highly qualified and motivated managers and leaders who have previously worked outside their sector.
And managers themselves are not casting their net wide enough when looking for that next post because they don’t think they have the experience.
The Benefits of Employing People From Outside Your Sector
When a business is looking to employ someone new, particularly in management, they will generally look within their sector for someone who has experience.
This has the advantage that you get someone who knows the ins and outs of the business and who don’t need to be brought up to speed.
Someone from outside that sector may well need to have a little extra training. However, they also bring new ideas and new ways of doing things.
They can be progressive and disruptive in a positive way.
This can lead to changes in attitudes and how things get done that may have been ingrained in your sector for years.
According to Forbes, it’s a natural thing to resist bringing in people from the outside:
“We value industry and function-specific experience in job applicants because doing so reinforces the choices we’ve made in our own careers to pursue specific career paths and earn specific credentials.”
The idea of sector specific experience works both ways.
Many managers and leaders believe they can only survive and prosper in their own industry.
All but the most adventurous will look close to home with something they’re used to rather than try a completely new arena.
We often look at job specs and simply rule ourselves out because we don’t have experience in that particular area.
But can we actually do the job? Yes we can.
Most businesses, at least those that don’t fall into the remit of highly specialised like law or finance, can benefit from at least a little radical thinking when it comes to recruitment.
Employing managers and other staff from different sectors brings fresh voices to your business that can make a real difference.
It might take a lot to get this done, not least the change of attitude.
You first of all need to dispel the myth of sector specific experience in your own business and that sometimes isn’t easy. The benefits, however, can be significant.
The good news is that many people are now looking to move beyond the traditional and challenge the norm of industry experience.
Perhaps it’s time that businesses themselves cast their nets a little wider.
If you want fresh views and a trans-formative approach in your company, pulling down those walls may well be the way forward.