Hiring & Recruiting, Strategic HR

Is A College Degree the New High School Diploma? New Survey Results Reveal the Answer

Is a college degree the new high school diploma? According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 38% of employers have raised their educational requirements over the last 5 years, compared to 32% last year.College

Forty-one percent of employers are hiring college-educated workers for positions that had been primarily held by those with high school degrees, compared to 37% in 2016. Thirty-three percent of employers are hiring more workers with master’s degrees for positions that had been primarily held by those with a 4-year degree, compared to 27% of employers last year.

More than 2,300 hiring and Human Resource managers in the private sector across industries participated in the nationwide survey, conducted online by Harris Poll from November 16 to December 6, 2016.

When asked why they are hiring more workers with college degrees for positions that had been primarily held by those with only high school degrees, 61% said it was because skills for their positions have evolved, requiring higher educated labor. Fifty-six percent said they are able to get college-educated labor for these positions because of the tight job market.

“We’ve continued to see an increase in the number of employers raising the educational requirements needed for their workforce,” said Rosemary Haefner, Chief Human Resources officer at CareerBuilder. “Roles across the board, even entry level positions, are evolving and becoming more complex. Employers are looking for workers with a solid knowledge base and skillset that can make an impact on the business right away.”

Benefits of Increased Educational Requirements

Employers that have increased educational requirements for their workforce have seen a positive effect on:

  • Higher quality work: 61%
  • Productivity: 51%
  • Communication: 45%
  • Innovation/idea generation: 41%
  • Employee retention: 33%
  • Revenue: 26%
  • Customer loyalty: 24%

Raising Requirements, but Helping Employees Get the Training They Need
About half of employers (51%) plan to provide more online, competency-based learning opportunities to employees in 2017. Forty-one percent of employers are sending current workers back to school to get an advanced degree—with 14% fully funding the degree, and 22% funding it partially.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,391 hiring and Human Resource managers ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, nongovernment) between November 16 and December 6, 2016. Percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions. With a pure probability sample of 2,391, one could say with a 95% probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 2.00 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.