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Employers demand higher qualifications for mid-skill roles



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If you find that the new hires around you are getting increasingly qualified, you might not be wrong.

According to a CareerBuilder survey, over the past five years, 32% of employers have increased their educational requirements from candidates.

The survey, conducted online by Harris Poll, polled more than 2,300 HR and hiring managers in the U.S. It found that slightly more than a third were hiring staff with Masters degrees for positions primarily held by those with four-year degrees in the past.

It also found that about a third were hiring employees with college degrees for positions that had been primarily held by those with high school degrees.

The survey pointed out that of the employers who have increased their education requirements in the last five years, the majority have done so for middle-skill jobs (61%). Only 46% have done so for entry-level or low-skill jobs and 43% for high-skill jobs.

The main reason for this increase in education requirements was cited by 60% of these employers as “skills for those positions have evolved, requiring higher educated labour”.

More than half also said they were able to get college-educated labour for those positions because of the tight job market.

Does increasing the educational requirements bring about a positive change in the organisation?

Apparently, having a higher educated workforce does bring about some positive impacts. The survey’s respondents pointed out that as a result of increasing their educational requirements, they noticed:

  • A higher quality of work: 57%
  • An increase in productivity: 43%
  • An increase in innovation/idea generation: 37%
  • More communication: 3%
  • Increase in employee retention: 3%
  • More customer loyalty: 2%
  • Increase in revenue: 2%

ALSO READ: Are degree holders no longer an elite group in Hong Kong?

Additionally, 36% of respondents revealed that they are unlikely to promote an employee who doesn’t have a college degree.

Thankfully, some companies are helping employees upskill themselves through training and sending employees back to school.

Slightly more than a third of employers revealed that they trained low-skill workers and hired them for high-skill jobs last year and 33% plan to do the same in 2016.

About six in ten respondents said they plan to hire candidates who have the majority of skills required and provide training to them for the rest.

Half of the respondents were willing to pay for training and certifications that employees earn outside the company, and 40% revealed that they were sending current employees back to school to get an advanced degree — with 23% funding it partially and 12% providing full funding.

At the same time, 68% said their company offers training programmes to employees with a majority of them on soft skills (71%) or hard skills (72%).

“One of the biggest excuses to putting a training programme in place is often the perception that it will take too much time; however, there is no investment that you can make that will do more to improve productivity in your company,” said Rosemary Haefner, CHRO of CareerBuilder.

Image: Shutterstock

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