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Hit the Books: Employers Increasing Educational Requirements

Hit the Books: Employers Increasing Educational Requirements
Credit: Franny Anne/Shutterstock

A high school diploma doesn't carry as much weight in the workplace as it used to, new research shows.

A study from CareerBuilder revealed that employers are raising the education bar in hiring. Specifically, 38 percent of organizations have raised their educational requirements over the last five years, up from 32 percent who said the same thing a year ago.

The research found that 41 percent of employers are hiring college-educated workers for positions that had been primarily held by those with high school degrees, compared to 37 percent in 2016.

The study shows that 61 percent of hiring managers have increased their educational requirements because skills for their positions have evolved and now require higher-educated workers. [See Related Story: Which College Degrees Have the Best Earning Potential?]

The current hiring landscape is also contributing to the increased educational standards. Fifty-six percent of employers said they are hiring more workers with advanced educational backgrounds because the tight job market is giving them an opportunity to get college-educated labor for positions that were typically held by those with only high school diplomas.

"Roles across the board, even entry-level positions, are evolving and becoming more complex," said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, in a statement. "Employers are looking for workers with a solid knowledge base and skill set that can make an impact on the business right away."

Employers are seeing a wide range of benefits from hiring more educated employees. Higher-quality work, increased productivity, better communication and more innovation are all among the advantages employers have experienced since increasing their education requirements. Increased employee retention, revenue and customer loyalty are among the other benefits.

Besides raising their educational standards, many employers are also making more of an effort to give their current employees more education. The study shows that 51 percent of employers plan to provide more online, competency-based learning opportunities to employees in 2017.

In addition, 41 percent of organizations are sending current workers back to school to get advanced degrees. Of those organizations, 14 percent are fully funding the degree, and 22 percent are partially funding it.

The study was based on surveys of 2,391 hiring and human resources managers.

 

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.