An Australian contractor, working in a specialist sector, says he has worked in his field of engineering for several years since arriving in the UK. He has frequently changed job, but has not once been asked for a copy of his degree certificate.
"I have never been asked for my degree since I have worked in the UK," he said. "I have only just got my work visas, and now work with a contractor. Before, I was working through employment agencies."
The contractor, who wished to remain anonymous, says UK contractors, consultants and agencies are "desperate" for skilled workers, and that foreign and domestic workers are rarely asked for evidence of their training.
He adds that the same culture existed in Australia before he moved to the UK. "I have been out of university for 10 years, and have not been asked for my degree at any point," he said.
And he has first-hand experience of people taking jobs they may be underqualified for. "I do know of people who have less experience than they should have," he said.
According to Hays Consulting Engineering recruitment consultant Catherine Whipps, job applicants do not routinely have their qualifications checked, although their references will be checked.
"The clients do not tend to mind if the degree or HND is in engineering, but in specialist areas, clients will tend to ask about experience," said Whipps.
"People sometimes bring their degrees, but they are not really relevant unless the applicant is applying for a visa."