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Not enough educated workers — why this matters to you

According to a CareerBuilder survey, 33 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. 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 earning a certification or participating in training to make themselves more marketable.
For instance: Google Professional Certificates
Google has partnered with Coursera in a program for job seekers to gain the job-ready skills needed to launch careers in IT Support, Data Analytics, UX Design, Project Management, and IT Automation. Students can learn at their own pace, requires no experience, and find a path to in-demand jobs.

Things 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.

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?

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 more money or open other doors?

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. Request an informational interview with an individual who is successful in the role you want to determine what courses to sign up for.

Read: What you need to know about informational interviews

What kind of work can you do?

Search Jobs Support Center for more ideas.

Advice for certifications/education:

Research salaries and education for any job with CareerBuilder's Salary Tool