The rising value of a university education

The dynamic and often flexible nature of today's jobs means that, sometimes, a university degree is not a prerequisite to enter the workforce. Those seeking a career in the trades, for example, can usually make do with a high school education and basic training.

However, a recent survey in the US suggests that there may be a shift as employers increasingly value candidates who hold a university qualification. This is especially convincing given that many companies have reported seeing a superior ROI from their university-educated employees.

Human resources firm CareerBuilder interviewed more than 2,000 hiring managers and HR professionals and found that over a quarter (27 per cent) of respondents claimed the educational requirements for roles at their organisation have increased over the last five years. Almost a third (30 per cent) said they are actively recruiting more university-educated candidates – even for jobs that used to be held by those straight out of high school.

For some recruiters, even a Bachelor's degree is not enough. A fifth (20 per cent) of respondents said they had increased their requirements for jobs in which a Bachelor's degree previously sufficed, and were now looking for those holding a Master's qualification.

CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson added that the increasing importance of non-technical skills, such as the ability to work well with others, was another reason why employers are turning to more qualified candidates.

“The economic value of a college education for workers has long been known, but as occupations evolve and as companies rely more heavily on professionals with strong interpersonal and technical skill sets, workers can't afford to stop their education at high school,” he explained.

Actively recruiting candidates with a degree can certainly pay off for your organisation – more than half (56 per cent) of employers who hire university-educated employees said they saw a higher quality of work. And once you've selected the top talent out of university, graduate talent assessment can help you further their leadership potential at your organisation.