Do employees value job skills over college degrees?

Posted on July 16th, 2014

What’s more important to employers — that a job candidate has a college degree or possesses specific job skills?

The majority of working adults believe it’s the latter, according to a new survey by job listing site Glassdoor.

College degrees vs. job skills: what’s more important?

The site surveyed 2,000 working adults and found that 72% said getting trained in a specific skill is more highly valued by their employer than having a college degree.

Further showing their belief in their employers’ lack of concern about their college education, 80% of respondents saying they had never been asked about their grade point average during a job interview.

So does that mean employers rather their employees learn specific skills than bother earning a college degree?

The numbers say that’s not the case.

College degrees improve employment chances

According to Pew Research, the unemployment rate of non-college graduates ages 25-32 is significantly higher than that of those with a college degree.

The unemployment rate of people with just a a high school degree is 12.2%, 8.1% for those with a two-year degree and just 3.8% for those with a bachelor’s degree or more.

pew college research

And the earnings numbers back this up as well.

People with a college degree earn 61% more on average than those with only a high school degree, and $830,000 more by retirement.

Learn skills to improve employment chances

But this doesn’t mean job skills don’t matter at all. In fact, most people say colleges don’t prepare students for careers as well as they should.

Last year, a survey from Northeastern University revealed that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the higher education system is doing only a fair or poor job of preparing graduates for the workforce.

That numbers show that college degrees are worth the cost if you want to maximize your earning potential and chance of employment.

But this doesn’t mean that all college degrees are created equal–or that college is worth going hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt for.

You can’t expect a college to teach you everything you’ll ever need to know about a career. A college degree offers many tangible (and intangible) benefits, but even when you graduate, it’s important to learn specific skills you can use on the job.

And during college, you can pick up job skills and maximize your chances of finding employment after college by doing an internship or working a part-time job.

Students and graduates: how have you improved your job skills during college? Employers: what do you value most in an employee?

Let us know on Facebook or Twitter @CFGCollege or leave a comment below.

Category: Choosing a College

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