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May 2014
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TD Magazine

Employers Place Less Value on College Pedigrees

Intelligence9
Relevant knowledge and skills are far more important to hiring managers than college pedigrees, reveals a recent Gallup survey. Hiring managers were asked to rate the importance of four factors when considering a job candidate: the individual's knowledge of the field, applied skills in the field, college major, and where the candidate received a college degree.

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Eighty-four percent of respondents said that the amount of relevant knowledge an individual has is "very important," while 79 percent said applied skills were very important. By comparison, 28 percent of hiring managers rank college major as very important, and just 9 percent consider a candidate's alma mater as such. Forty percent of respondents indicated that this fourth factor was "not very important."

Although hiring managers still give the college factor some consideration, job seekers (and prospective college students) should know that their industry experience is far more valued. However, the survey results show that the American public places more importance on college majors and where candidates receive their degrees than do business leaders.

Nearly half of U.S. adults (47 percent) say the candidate's major is very important to hiring managers, and 30 percent say where the candidate received his college degree is very important.

As innovative learning models continue to challenge traditional higher education, and as employers develop more sophisticated techniques to evaluate job candidates, employers and job seekers alike may place less and less value on college degrees.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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