The evidence is conclusive: the longer you spend studying, the better your salary at work. These are the irrefutable findings of a study carried out by the job search engine, Adzuna. Over the course of a career, i.e. approximately 41.5 years, a 4-year degree holder will earn an average of €345,733 more than a 2-year degree holder.

However, not all students have the opportunity to study for long periods of time, and are sometimes forced to start working relatively prematurely.

These so-called ‘early workers’ often have a high level of autonomy and develop self-learning skills which tend to make them more proactive. However, many such workers deplore their poor career development prospects, which they find are either blocked or slowed down either within their own company or in terms of recruitment opportunities by another employer. They find themselves coming up against the infamous glass ceiling.


There are ways of getting round such a situation, however. Professional experience can be recognised and converted into an equivalent or higher level diploma in two ways. This is known as the Validation of acquired knowledge from experience (VAE)

Validation of acquired knowledge from professional experience (VAP)

The aim of the VAP is to consolidate your acquired skills to allow you to access higher education should you be lacking a formal qualification.

For example, if you want to apply to do a Master’s degree, but you only have a baccalaureate or High School diploma. Normally, without a Validation of Professional Acquired Knowledge, you would first of all need to have obtained a 3-year Bachelor’s degree. This is because the French higher education system is structured according to the 3 ‘LMD’ levels: 3-year Bachelor’s degree (or ‘Licence’), 5-year Master’s degree (M) and 8-year Doctorate (D). Obtaining one level is a prerequisite to gaining access to the next level.

a training to go through glass ceiling

The VAP allows you the opportunity to obtain the equivalence of a 3-year Bachelor’s degree, thereby allowing you to apply to do a Master’s degree programme, subject to the acceptance of your application by a jury.

Validation of Experience (VAE)

The VAE is a much more demanding means of obtaining recognition of your professional experience. Indeed, the VAE does not merely convert your professional experience into an equivalent diploma level, but rather awards you with a specific degree (a law degree or a master’s degree in management, for example). As such, a candidate is required to submit a convincing, well-founded and well-structured application, which often requires several months’ work. During a presentation of your professional experience, a jury will decide whether to award you the requested diploma.

to validate your professional experience you will have to go before a jury

According to user figures of the online course platform, Udemy (which has 24 million users), the broadening of skills also makes a difference on the job market. Until now, technical skills such as marketing, management and project management have always been considered a more valuable. However, recruiters now also consider interpersonal skills as an important aspect of the range of skills they are looking for. 77% of employers consider soft skills, such as interpersonal or social skills related to communication, character, attitude, etc. to be as important as technical skills.

The best way to really develop your career path is to improve your level of education as well as your interpersonal skills.

28 January 2019
La Rédaction


La Rédaction

The BLOG editorial team is composed by members of the editorial department of the NEOMA Business School communication department. Passionate about popularization of science and watching the latest trends, practices and advice related to management, the editorial team wishes to shed a different and complementary light on the academic content gathered within this blog.