38 percent of employers looking for more educated workers

Educational requirements

According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 38 percent of employers have raised educational requirements over the last five years.

Back to school… back to school… to prove to dad that I'm not a fool a potential employer that I'm capable enough for the job?

Time for a rewrite of that Billy Madison song. According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 38 percent of employers have raised educational requirements over the last five years. Thirty-three percent are hiring workers with master's degrees for positions that had been primarily held by those with four-year degrees, and 41 percent are hiring employees with undergraduate degrees for positions that had been primarily held by those with high school degrees.

Why more education?

When asked why they are hiring more employees with college degrees for positions that had been primarily held by those with high school degrees, 61 percent of employers said the skills required for their positions have evolved, requiring a higher base level of education. Fifty-six percent said they are able to get college-educated labor for these positions because of the tight job market.

After raising their education requirements, employers have also seen a positive impact across the board:

  • Higher quality work: 61 percent
  • Productivity: 51 percent
  • Communication: 45 percent
  • Innovation/idea generation: 41 percent
  • Employee retention: 33 percent
  • Revenue: 26 percent
  • Customer loyalty: 24 percent

How employers are doing their part

Employers are also stepping up to make it easier for current workers to gain the education and skills they need. About half of employers plan to provide more online, competency-based learning opportunities to employees in 2017. Forty-one percent of employers are sending employees back to school to get advanced degrees – with 14 percent fully funding the degree, and 22 percent funding it partially.

Workers are also taking it on themselves to increase their education level and skills. About 1 in 5 workers are going back to school, earning a certification or participating in training in 2017 to make themselves more marketable.

What to consider before going back to school

Are you thinking about going back to school or enrolling in a training program? Before committing, make sure to ask yourself these important questions.

  • 1.What are my goals? Think about your future and what type of position excites you. Are you trying to change careers or move to the next level? Check out Find Your Calling, a website that aims to connect people to careers that fit their interests and figure out the education they need to achieve their goals.
  • 2.What does the data tell me? Is additional training and/or education expected? Research what educational requirements are common for your career path and dive into the numbers. Do most people in your field have a certain degree or certification? Will this additional education earn you a raise or open other doors?
  • 3.If education is the answer, what are my options? If you're already mid-career, you may need only a few courses or workshops to get to the next level. For example, specific certifications are widely respected in the IT industry. Talk to an individual who's successful in the role you want to determine what courses to sign up for.

Tweet @CareerBuilder: Are you thinking about getting more education this year? What makes you want to go back to school? Is your employer helping you?