Generalist vs. Specialist: Pros and Cons

The job market nowadays is a highly competitive one. There are lots of skills that need to be learned, highly specific, and particular niches that need to be filled. This then brings on the discussion of whether companies should hire people with a specific skill set, or those who are all-rounders and can do many things but of lesser capacity. 

Why Generalists are Good for Your Business

Wide Skills and Abilities

Generalists often have a wide set of skills that makes them useful in many situations. However, because of their broad coverage of abilities, many dismiss them as Jack of all trades, master of none. The common misconception is that generalists don’t have the expertise they can shine in. But this wide range of abilities lends itself to be useful in a myriad of purposes. Especially when looked at in the highly competitive lenses of today, being able to contribute in many different fields is a very useful ability.

Can Adapt to Many Situations

In the last point, we talked about how being able to do more is a benefit. Polymaths, or those skilled in many different areas, can be put in many different titles and roles. Their wide knowledge will enable them to be relatively competent, and their skill will only increase with experience.  

Useful for New Companies

Having a lot of abilities and being able to adapt to different settings make generalists the best addition to new companies. Since startups and newly established companies often have limited resources and manpower, generalists who can fulfill different tasks and roles will prove beneficial. And with how multifaceted employees are nowadays, there’s a guarantee that they will find a spot to fill- and maybe even specialize down the line.

Solid Learners

Having multiple skills means having the ability to learn efficiently. This makes generalists solid learners who can digest the information provided to them. Their learning process is established, and they have an understanding of the fundamentals of what works and what doesn’t. Companies looking to establish their business for the long haul will do better hiring generalists and eventually helping them find their niche to specialize in.

The Value of a Specialist

Expertise Has a High Value 

It’s not very often that we can find an expert in a specific field, so when we do, we truly value them. Their level of knowledge, experience, and abilities are what sets them apart from everyone else, and it’s something that we want to acquire in our business. After all, when we want the best quality of work, we always go for specialists. Take an industrial-level project for example.

When starting an industrial business, perhaps a factory or any manufacturing business, you’d need to hire professional industrial electrical contractors to install all your wirings, fixtures, and other electrical needs during construction. 

Productive, Accurate, and Efficient

Because of the level of expert specialists have, we can expect a higher quality of work from them as opposed to individuals who are still ongoing or require training. Specialists have pride and confidence in their work, and coming from their experiences, they are more than likely to have developed a personal style or system that makes them more efficient in their job. All these combined can assure your business that the work they do is seamless, effective, and timely.

Has the Ability and Drive to Learn More

Just because they are a “Master of one” does not mean they cannot learn other skills. The fact that they were able to learn and master one skill means that they can learn and have the patience to practice. Assigning them tasks related to their skills will allow them to tap into their previous experience and accumulated knowledge. And once they have enough experience in that field, they’ll be multifaceted too.

Savings in Training and Resources

Because you’re hiring someone with a very specific skill set, you won’t have to spend too much on training someone else. Since it’s their field of expertise, they would have the skills and experience necessary to address problems. They’ll address situations and tasks with a level of quality only granted to specialists, and you can rely on consistent performance from them. In contrast to hiring and training someone for a specific job, a specialist is considerably more cost-effective.

Ultimately, specialists and generalists have their functions and roles to fulfill. Having only generalists will jeopardize the overall quality of your product or service, and having a team filled with specialists means you will lack in some aspects. It’s always about balancing your staff.

Meta title: Generalists vs. Specialists: Which Should Your Business Hire

Meta desc: Businesses require a variety of skills and abilities to run. Should your business hire a specialist or a jack of all trades? Read on to find out.

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