This post is triggered by Heather's post here.
I also think there's a comfort level taking risks on new grads because they are less opinionated about what *works* in the business world (oh come on, I know I have an opinion on "how things work"...otherwise this blog would be b-o-r-i-n-g). But on the flip side, career changers bring so much maturity and different perspective to the table. Are hiring authorities worried that their next desired role is just an experiment? That they are trying something new because they failed at what they did before? Or do we embrace the risk taker?
My response (not that I necessarily that I agree with it) tries to reason out why an organization might not look at somebody with "non-relevant" work experience for an experienced level opening.
It is easier to get a transition with your current employer than to ask for a change with a new employer.
Look at it this way, every hiring decision is a risk that the organization takes, and asking for previous experience is a way to mitigate that risk...that is because there are lots of factors that can be behind a successful talented person...like great organizational processes, a great team, top management support...you don't know if in your organization he/she will be as successful...but you still take a chance as the person has done this thing before...
On the other hand hiring someone new without any previous experience in that kind of role actually means taking the most risk...sure it might pay off handsomely , but typically management is about reducing risks in most organizations.