Employers look for many qualities in potential employees, including professionalism, personal qualities and experiences they have that could contribute the organization, communication and technology skills. Chief among the concerns of an interviewer, however, are the education and work experience an employee possesses. When it comes to salary, work experience can play a bigger role than education, since all the prospective applicants will need to have the educational requirements, but some may have more experience.
Years of work experience are important, because they are a quantifiable, clear way of demonstrating capability to perform a job. A stable work history also demonstrates professionalism and commitment. But the type of work experience matters just as much as the number of years of work experience. Employees need to be able to perform the specific responsibilities required of them. So, if someone has work experience in the industry he is seeking employment in, but is lacking in experience handling the responsibilities or performing the tasks that will be required of him, someone with fewer years of work experience and more experience performing those tasks may be hired instead.
According to PayScale, an online resource for statistical salary information in the United States, the years of work experience an employee has plays a significant role in determining her salary. The median yearly salary for someone with less than one year of experience was $42,665 as of December 2010. The median with one to four years was $45,406. The median with five to nine was $56,499. Workers with 10 to 19 years of experience earned a median salary of $68,814. Finally, workers of 20 or more years earned $76,170.
No matter the years of work experience or education, employees in certain industries will most likely always earn more than others. According to the 2010-11 edition of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, for example, primary care physicians earned a median yearly salary of $186,044 in that year. College and university professors and other post-secondary teachers, while also possessing doctoral degrees, earned a median salary of $58,830.
The employee's choice to work in the public or private sector will also complicate matters. For example, public school teachers with 30 or more years of experience earned an average of $65,470 for the 2007-08 school year, including the summer, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Private school teachers with the same experience earned $50,560 in the same year.