Posted March 28, 2013 by

32% of Employers Hiring College Grads for Jobs Once Reserved for High School Grads

Brent Rasmussen of Careerbuilder

Brent Rasmussen of Careerbuilder

Need another reason to stay in school after high school and get a degree from a one-, two-, or four-year college or university?

A recent survey illustrates just how important higher education has become to employers in virtually every industry. Employers have historically looked for educated labor to fill high skill positions but now more and more report that they’re also demanding post-secondary degrees from candidates who wish to fill lower skill jobs as well. Thirty-two percent of hiring managers and human resource professionals said they are hiring more employees with college degrees for positions that were historically held by high school graduates. While this trend is most prevalent among financial services organizations, it spans across various industries:

  • Financial Services – 53 percent
  • Healthcare – 40 percent
  • Manufacturing – 38 percent
  • Transportation & Utilities – 37 percent
  • Information Technology – 33 percent
  • Professional & Business Services – 31 percent
  • Retail – 28 percent
  • Hospitality – 20 percent

The CareerBuilder study of more than 2,600 employers nationwide was conducted online by Harris Interactive© from November 1 to November 30, 2012.

“Employers are filling more entry level functions with educated labor,” said Brent Rasmussen, President of CareerBuilder North America. “While some of this may be attributed to a competitive job market that lends itself to college grads taking lower skill jobs, it also speaks to companies raising performance expectations for roles within their firms to enhance overall productivity, product quality and sales.”

Positive Effects of College-Educated Labor

Of employers who have hired more workers with college degrees for jobs that were historically held by high school graduates, most reported positive impacts on their business in the forms of:

  • Higher quality of work – 64 percent
  • Productivity – 45 percent
  • Revenue – 22 percent
  • Customer Loyalty – 18 percent

Employers Implementing Stricter Requirements

Specific qualifications for jobs are becoming more demanding. Nearly one-in-five employers (18 percent) 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.

Education and Promotions

The lack of a college education may limit upward mobility. Thirty-seven percent of employers said they are unlikely to promote someone who doesn’t have a college degree.

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