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One in Five Employers Have Increased Education Requirements in the Last Five Years

talent statisticsPerhaps one way to explain why so many employers can’t find qualified talent is the fact that qualified means something different than it did five years ago. 

According to new research from CareerBuilder, 18 percent of employers said they have increased their educational requirements for jobs over the last five years.  Manufacturing and Information Technology firms were the most likely to report this, at 30 percent and 27 percent respectively.  More than half of employers (54 percent) reported that they require an associate’s degree or higher for their positions; 44 percent require a four-year degree or higher.

The reasoning for the stricter requirements makes sense, given that employers who said they hire college-educated workers over workers with only a high school degree see improved productivity, higher revenues and increased customer loyalty.

Despite these findings, companies that are struggling to find workers who meet their qualifications may want to consider hiring for cultural fit or potential and training employees on the job. After all, the cost of leaving a position unfilled could very well overshadow the cost of investing in employee training and development, such as on-the-job training, tuition reimbursement or mentoring opportunities.

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Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.

Partly this is a lazy way of trying to identify talent; you pass the buck to the educational system and assume they did some of the job for you. 

Also, given the decrease in education quality over the same period seen in many sectors, increasing qualification requirements could be seen as merely keeping one's head above water. 


This is concerning..  Companies continue to Overqualify candidates focusing on Subjective want's rather than focusing on Needs.   To utilize Education as a qualification when it is not a BFOQ can seriously lead to adverse impact..

A while ago a friend of mine at the EEOC and I had a conversation  along the lines of adverse impact, not only on Race,but also on Age.., we noted that only about 25 - 30% of Baby boomers initially got a degree (not including those who have gone back to school in recent years).. and about Half of them were in school to get their MRS. Degree.. never utilizing their education, but instead staying home and being June Cleaver.. which left of course even less in the work place.

In our conversation, I utilized the Age issue using this example..

Let's say Google was looking for a New CEO to revamp it's company - Bill Gates decided to get out of retirement. 1 - Google then says to Bill Gates, No way, we can't hire you for this position, because we need a degree. Bill Gates obviously has experience, he also has proven ability. He is also over 40. So now, he can reach out to the EEOC and say, wait a minute, they are not hiring me even though I am experienced.. I am over 40 -- Remember - a company doesn't have to have intent to be found guilty of discriminating.. so, even if they didn't have intention of discriminating against him due to age.. it does have that impact...

Now, all individuals over 40 can join his lawsuit..

1 - Another example, Google says of course Bill, even though we have a history of not hiring people w/o Degrees We WILL hire you.. You are awesome..

Well WAIT a minute.. they hire Bill Gates even w/o a degree? now EVERY candidate they turned down who is a minority, over 40, disabled, or any other diverse background will say, what gives? How come he was qualified w/o a degree, and we are not? what makes Him so special?

Now there would be another wonderful class action.. What a scary road..for more information on this


Very solid article. Relevant and "true".


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