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Level of qualifications in the UK

Getting refused in lower qualificated roles.

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Mario Cako25/11/2020 14:19:12
3 forum posts

Hello to everyone, new to this community as well as in the UK. I have some questions on the levels of qualifications in the degrees here in the UK. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, which is level 6 and since I am new here in the UK as I told you, I am trying to make a new start in the Engineering field and I thought it would be easier for me to get a starting job with qualifications lower than mine. That’s why I have applied for level 3 and level 4 jobs, but I got surprised when I wasn’t accepted because I am overqualified for the position. Wanted to ask is this normal, will all the companies deny me for this reason or I was just unlucky? Thanks in advance for your answers.

mechman4825/11/2020 15:44:19
2886 forum posts
449 photos

Hi Mario

Various reasons; but the over qualified is quite common, I've had that response a few times over the years & I don't have a degree. It sometimes depends on the person looking at your qual's if they think that you are better qualified than them then self preservation creeps in, 'Hmm this person is better qualified than me, he might take my job' cynical I know but I can vouch from personal experience.

Another experience for this is that you may encounter 'ageism' yes I've had that too! after some digging around that was the reason I didn't get 'that job' on more than one occasion; it does exist here in the UK. Another aspect is that with todays economic trend companies tend to look for the younger market where they can pay minimum wage whereas we older ( a lot retired Inc me ) generation know the value of our skills & Qual's on the world market thus tended to ask a higher rate of pay.

A few members will no doubt castigate my cynicism but boy oh boy It's a cruel world out there & if the companies involved in globalisation have their way, more is yet to come, 'ce la vie' . Never the less I wish you well & hope you find success in your efforts & find 'that job'

I'll get down behind the parapet now & put my helmet back on.


Martin Kyte25/11/2020 16:05:50
2309 forum posts
38 photos

It's actually illegal to descriminate on grounds of age. At the Lab we don't even get to see that data when shortlists are being drawn up. With regards to over-qualification I think the main question I would ask on interview is why do you want this post. I would be wary of employing the overqualified without a convincing reason to that question and assume that the individual is looking for a stop gap job. I would spread yourself around a little, don't just apply for low skill jobs. The main thing is to get an interview and then come across well. Finding someone who will fiit in with the rest of the team is as important as skill sets provided you can actually do the job. best of luck mate.

regards Martin

Edited By Martin Kyte on 25/11/2020 16:06:29

Old School25/11/2020 16:21:36
382 forum posts
39 photos

I have done a lot of interviewing during my working life, I would always be wary of someone who was over qualified or their experience was greater than required for the vacant position. I learnt from experience that some of these people used the job as a stop gap until something better came along or were only going to stop long enough to fill a missing skill on their CV.

If I had to choose between someone over qualified or someone under qualified I would take the later smaller salary but we grow them to suit our industry and this would be then reflected in their salary.

old mart25/11/2020 16:32:24
2828 forum posts
178 photos

Another possibility is that the overqualified person might be seen as transient and not a long term employee. A better job could turn up at any time.

Tony Pratt 125/11/2020 17:07:14
1465 forum posts
6 photos
Posted by Martin Kyte on 25/11/2020 16:05:50:

It's actually illegal to descriminate on grounds of age. At the Lab we don't even get to see that data when shortlists are being drawn up. With regards to over-qualification I think the main question I would ask on interview is why do you want this post.

Edited By Martin Kyte on 25/11/2020 16:06:29

That's a laugh, anyone can work out your age from the CV & discrimination will happen all the time, that being said I got my last job at the age of 64 mainly because of my age & experience.wink


colin hawes25/11/2020 17:20:06
542 forum posts
18 photos

I have actually been refused two jobs when I presented the qualifications required because I was considered overqualified. I was about 55 at that time.

Samsaranda25/11/2020 18:38:14
1070 forum posts
5 photos

Spent a number of years as vice chair and then chair of governors at our village primary school and was automatically invited to be part of the interview process for appointments. We always had three members on interview panel and we were always in agreement in choosing applicants who were not overqualified, experience from previous years indicated those that were overqualified would only remain in post for brief periods. It appears that the practice of not hiring those who are overqualified is fairly widespread and is a cultural thing in UK.
Dave W

Alistair Robertson 125/11/2020 18:38:54
130 forum posts
6 photos

Over-qualification is certainly a problem for all the reasons that have been mentioned above but we had a very strange qualification problem.

About 20 years ago we were desperate for off-shore engineers and we decided that we were looking for guys with at least 15 years experience. Personnel placed the vacancies in the top media (at enormous cost) and we waited for the department to provide a short list for interview.

Well they said that no qualified applicants had applied. This I couldn't understand as we were paying very good salaries indeed. On digging deeper we found that Personnel had a strict "under 30 only" policy and they would not change it. When we complained to the Managing Director that it was impossible to get 15 years experience with a 30 year old limit he had to call a world-wide directors meeting to get the rules changed.

Tony Pratt 125/11/2020 19:15:57
1465 forum posts
6 photos

Alistair, all I can say is why,why,why?


Alistair Robertson 125/11/2020 21:10:21
130 forum posts
6 photos

Hi, Tony.

That was my sentiments exactly but they said that as it was arduous work then only young lads would manage it!

I was nearly twenty years over the age limit myself so you can understand how I felt!

PETER ROACH25/11/2020 21:27:15
37 forum posts
15 photos


With a level 6 qualification you would normally be looking at a professional/chartered engineers role or career path. With a level 3 or 4 it would be technician/trade type role. Obviously experience and specialist knowledge may effect the roles that are appropriate and blur the overlap. But if I was recruiting needing level 3 or 4 staff would need a fully explanation from someone with higher skill wanting the role. It will also depend on what size of organisation you apply to.

Mario Cako26/11/2020 11:11:12
3 forum posts

Thank you to everyone for the replies.

Hopper26/11/2020 11:18:25
5379 forum posts
129 photos

Apply for the grade 6 jobs. Don't undersell yourself.

Some employers with think there must be something wrong with you -- or with your foreign degree -- if you apply for lower level jobs than your qualification suits.

Vic26/11/2020 11:52:05
2750 forum posts
1 photos

I read an interesting article many years ago written by someone at a large engineering company. At one point in the past the company would employ university graduates as a matter of course. At some point though they compared the progress of in house trained apprentices with graduates and dispensed with employing the latter. It was determined that not only was further education failing to teach the skills the company required but the students also lacked some very basic skills. As a result they developed an intensive apprenticeship scheme and were reluctant to take on anyone over 16.

Dave Smith 1426/11/2020 12:12:57
162 forum posts
25 photos


Go for the job level you have the experience and competence for. I interviewed and employed many non UK Engineers over the course of my career. They were judged on whether they were suitable for the job nothing else.


Dave Halford26/11/2020 14:11:15
1388 forum posts
12 photos

Some of your trouble might come from the Brexit thing, and a concern that something unknown might happen next year.

Consider Agency contracting as a way in to get UK company experience. the Agency does the sales work for you Some 6 month contracts end up running for 2 years or more.

Mick B126/11/2020 15:32:08
1857 forum posts
92 photos

When I went for interview for a job as a Tool Designer, the lady in Personnel told me I wouldn't be there if it'd been entirely up to her because I'd no Engineering qualifications - I was only up for interview because the Tooling Manager had seen my CV and wanted someone with toolroom/instrument shop experience.

I got the job. I still needed to learn a lot, especially on multistage press tools and injection moulds. I made mistakes, but when I did, the toolmakers pointed them out and often already had practical solutions - whereas there were other designers whom they cheerfully allowed to crash and burn.

Howard Lewis26/11/2020 16:36:55
4662 forum posts
10 photos

Age discrimination is not a new thing. nearly 40 years ago, I applied for a Sales Engineer post with a multi national manufacture in the field that i was in. I was told that the policy was to write the applicant's age on the top of the form, and if the number exceeded 35, the application was refused. My interviewer disagreed with it, but that was company policy, even if it ruled out someone who could pick the reins within a day.

Do not under rate yourself.

There are lots of folk who will sell themselves, over and above their actual capabilities. But theybrelie on those who CAN do the job to keep things running.


Mario Cako27/11/2020 18:39:22
3 forum posts

Thank you so much for the answers, everything you guys mentioned is really helpful and I appreciate your time. I wanted to ask you as well if you have any tips for my situation, someone that just came to the UK that has experience almost two years as a civil construction supervisor engineer.

  1. What courses and certificates might help in my job research, except for the CSCS academically qualified person card that I have already started the procedures.
  2. Any companies that are friendly and are hiring engineers with not that big of experience in order for them to get growth within their company.

Edited By Mario Cako on 27/11/2020 18:39:56

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